João Fernandes, president of the Algarve’s tourism association (ATA), has declared that the region is “ready for Brexit” and that the impact of the UK’s departure from the European Union is expected to have an even smaller impact than it did last year.
Speaking to tourism newspaper Publituris, he praised the “joint efforts” of ATA, national tourism authority Turismo de Portugal and airport authority ANA which have led to “very positive results”.
Fernandes highlighted that the number of British guests and overnight stays at Algarve tourist accommodation units increased 7.2% and 2.5%, respectively, in the first 11 months of 2019 when compared to the same period two years ago.
In other words, the concern regarding the impact of Brexit on Portugal’s most important tourism region seems to be unfounded, at least thus far.
The tourism boss praised the contingency plan launched by the Ministry of Economy in March 2019 and also said that the UK election results finally led to “clarification and the end of a climate of uncertainty” with the confirmation that there wouldn’t be a hard Brexit.
“When in 2019 we suggested that there could be more of an impact in 2020, we were forecasting the possibility of a hard Brexit which has not happened, and today what we are seeing is a level of confidence that is much more comfortable,” he told Publituris.
Fernandes also said that the number of reservations, from all tourist markets, for the first half of 2020 is “much higher than last year” and represents an increase of around 30%.
He attributed the good news to “market diversification” and to the launch of new routes at Faro Airport.
“These are very good signs, which obviously aren’t only associated to the British market,” he added.