André Jordan
André Jordan during an interview with Essential Business - Photo: Joaquim Morgado/Essential Business

Algarve pays tribute to André Jordan

Several public figures paid their respects to “a true visionary”, “an exceptional man”, “a businessman of uncommon qualities”

Entrepreneur André Jordan, undoubtedly one of the leading figures in the development of Portugal’s luxury tourism, real estate and golf sectors, died on Friday, February 9, aged 90.

André Jordan was best known as the founder of Quinta do Lago in the Algarve and Belas Clube de Campo in Sintra, having also contributed to the development of Vilamoura into the resort destination it is today.

Born in 1933 in Poland, a country he fled as a child when the threat of World War II and Nazi persecution intensified, Jordan settled in Brazil, although Portugal was where he developed several of his best-known projects.

Quinta do Lago has lamented André Jordan’s death in a statement.

“Today, we say goodbye to a true visionary, André Jordan, whose extraordinary vision and resilience created Quinta do Lago and ingrained his legacy into what we proudly call home today,” the resort says.

“André Jordan’s journey with Quinta do Lago began with a dreama dream to create a world-class resort that embraced the charm and elegance of our local surroundings. Despite facing challenges, he embarked on this journey with unwavering spirit. From the modest beginnings of a dilapidated farmhouse to the vibrant hub of luxury and leisure it is today, André’s foresight transformed Quinta do Lago into a haven of peace and tranquillity. Throughout the highs and lows, André’s dedication never faltered. His early development efforts in the 1970s paved the way for Quinta do Lago’s success, welcoming guests from across the globe and setting a standard of excellence.”

Quinta do Lago adds: “Today, as we remember André Jordan’s remarkable life, we celebrate his vision, his passion, and the enduring legacy he leaves behind. Quinta do Lago will forever bear the mark of his spirit, inspiring generations to come. Your legacy lives on in every sunset, every smile, and every cherished memory.”

Photo: Joaquim Morgado/Essential Business

The Algarve’s regional development commission (CCDR Algarve) also reacted in an official statement, saying that André Jordan was “rightfully identified as the ‘father’ of tourism in the last 50 years” and was a “scholar of events and people, as he liked to describe himself,” and a “great promoter of tourism in the region.” The commission also described André Jordan as “one of the leading people responsible for positioning the Algarve as one of the main golf and tourism destinations in the world.”

Just last year, Loulé Council named a street after André Jordan in Vilamoura, with mayor Vítor Aleixo describing the entrepreneur at the time as an “exceptional man” and a “businessman of uncommon qualities”, who was “faithful to his nature as an entrepreneur” but knew how to conduct his business “tastefully, with art, balance, elegance and great awareness about the relationship between the economy and the environment.

“Economic growth didn’t have to exist at the expense of the environment. The economy had to fit in with the environment to create value, to create excellence, to create economic activity. That is why he made Quinta do Lago the resort we know today,” said Aleixo in June 2023.

The mayor added that it is due to the “extraordinary vision of this brilliant man” that the Algarve is now a leading international tourism destination, and praised André Jordan’s role in the development of Vilamoura at a time when it needed to “regenerate and take a leap forward.

In a statement released after his death, Loulé Council highlighted André Jordan’s “unique philosophy in the conception of tourist resorts of unmatched quality, which earned him several national and international accolades.”

The University of the Algarve also paid tribute to the entrepreneur by declaring three days of “academic mourning” following his passing.

Several public figures – including Minister of Finance Fernando Medina, former Minister of Culture João Soares and the President of the Portuguese Hotel Association Bernardo Trindade – paid their respects on Sunday (February 11) as the entrepreneur laid in state at the Funeral Chapels of Basílica da Estrela in Lisbon. A funeral procession was held the following day which ended at Nossa Senhora de Fátima Parish Church in Almancil, Algarve, after which a burial ceremony was held at the local cemetery.

Aside from the public approval he received from countless figures, André Jordan was also awarded an honorary doctorate by ISCTE and the University of the Algarve and served as Honorary Consul of Brazil in the Algarve for 17 years. In Portugal, he was named a Grand Officer of the Order of Infante D. Henrique.

Just last year, Jordan received the Grand Cross of the Order of Commercial Merit directly from the hands of President of the Republic Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, a tribute he was “not expecting at all,” he told the Resident after the ceremony.

As he told us at the time, more important than seeing his contributions recognised was seeing the importance of tourism and real estate development recognised.

“All you need to do is look at Loulé or Albufeira in the Algarve to see the prosperity that these sectors have brought to local councils,” he said.

The Portuguese government was not the only one to formally award Jordan for his feats. The Brazilian government also appointed him a Grand Officer of the Order of Rio Branco, and he was an honorary citizen of the cities of Rio de Janeiro and New York, having also received the Gold Medal of Loulé (1998) and Sintra, as well as the Algarve Tourism Medal.

André Jordan was also appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II and received the National Tourism Award in the Career category.

As a true testament to his legacy, he was considered in 2014 one of the 12 most influential personalities in global tourism.

André Jordan was also involved in the founding of several important institutions in the business and cultural fields, and was the author of several books, with the most recent being “A Journey through Life.”

By Michael Bruxo

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