Algarve needs to be bilingual

Dear Editor,

So some of those present at a tourism conference thought Ms. Compton was rude to speak in English. Just what are they doing working in the tourist industry if they don’t speak English? Attitudes to tourists, visitors? Tourism is a prickly, highly competitive industry; over 90 per cent of the Algarve’s GDP is dependent on tourists, resident estrangeiros, 33 per cent of tourists are UK residents, about 25 per cent of the rest use English as a first or second language (Ireland, Canada, Holland, Norway, etc). English is also the main language of the CE, to which we belong; and must survive in.

It is therefore good business sense, a necessity, that the Algarve is bilingual. Every school principle, every politician, every businessman/woman needs to be aware; without English as a language, a more open welcoming attitude, we have no future. Few, far too few, Câmara presidents realise this, hopefully this will be translated for them; and for the conference objectors. Tourists can choose, freely, where to go, our attitude must always be to cater for their needs, their language, their interests; they owe us no favours.

But it is not just language, it’s in landscape too and the Algarve has not even touched the historical monuments, natural history, riding/walking market. Your front page carries a story about threats to the Ria de Alvor, in fact all of our reserves are under threat. So called legislation, protection bodies is nothing more than bureaucracy, paper work. There is no active body, no pro active agency and few resources. The planned lynx programme will fail, there is no environmental conviction; but of the public/media gaze, it is all about money and who you know.

D. Taylor Smith

São Marcos da Serra