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Algarve hotels see rush of long weekend cancellations due to borough lockdowns

The “few bookings” that Algarve hotels had for the upcoming two long weekends have had to be cancelled due to the latest municipal travel restrictions announced by the Portuguese government.

“People were taken by surprise and have had to cancel their bookings,” João Soares from the association of hotel businesses in Portugal (AHP), and the owner of a hotel in Quarteira, told TSF radio.

“We launched campaigns and offered special prices in the hopes that people would come, but it is not working.”

Elidérico Viegas, president of the Algarve hoteliers’ association (AHETA), said that the restrictions have dashed all hopes that these long Bank Holiday weekends could provide some much-needed “oxygen” for the region’s hotels.

Now, their focus is shifting to the festive season at a time when around 80% of hotels are closed.

“Hoteliers are waiting to hear news (from the government) about Christmas and New Year in order to know how to proceed,” said Viegas.

However, Prime Minister António Costa has already admitted that State of Emergency measures would likely run into Christmas and New Year.

The AHETA boss says the crisis caused by the pandemic will have a lasting impact on the hotel sector and “it will take three to four years for us to return to the kind of figures we enjoyed in the past,” he concluded.

michael.bruxo@algarveresident.com