Algarve needs “more policing and smarter strategy” to avoid another ‘Portugal Invasion’ disaster

Now that the troublemaking group of British holidaymakers who caused chaos in Albufeira and Faro Airport this week (click here and click here) has gone home, a region-wide debate is underway to determine what authorities should do to prevent such incidents from happening again.

The consensus seems to be “more policing” near bars and nightclubs, and a better marketing strategy.

Algarve tourism boss Desidério Silva says that promoting “low-cost excursions” to the region, such as the ‘Portugal Invasion’ trip, could increase the chances of attracting the wrong kind of tourist to the region.

“These are incidents that do not help any tourist destination and should be avoided so that the image of the region is not jeopardised,” he told Lusa news agency.

As the Algarve is “booming and in demand”, it should focus on attracting tourists for the right reasons, added the former mayor of Albufeira.

He also said that the responsibility to ensure that these chaotic scenes do not unfold lies with the authorities, such as the GNR police.

“I have spoken with the district command of the GNR, which guaranteed that they are alert to try to find out how the groups arrive and where they are, so that they can act and avoid these situations from happening again,” Silva said.

Elidérico Viegas, head of the regional hotelier association AHETA, also calls for stronger police presence.

“There is this idea that in Albufeira this kind of (disorderly) behaviour is allowed,” he said.

Meantime, the president of Albufeira’s businesspeople association has downplayed the incident that erupted in the town’s Oura bar district, saying that these kinds of brawls happen every year but are not too serious.

“There isn’t any kind of feeling of insecurity among businesses because these incidents do occur near bars, but are not pitched battles as has been reported,” Luís Alexandre told Lusa.

He added that no major issues were reported by businesses, though there were some “minor disturbances”. Alexandre also called for more policing in the Oura area to avoid further alcohol-fuelled brawls.

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