João Fernandes (Photo: Barlavento)

Algarve tourism boss adds to summer optimism

Algarve tourism boss João Fernandes has added a new spark of optimism to the region’s hopes of a ‘good summer’, having reported on Wednesday a “very significant increase” in the number of flight and hotel bookings made by British tourists for this summer.

As the Resident reported this week, hotels in the Algarve have been inundated with inquiries, to the point that ‘reservations departments’ had to stay open over the weekend to cope (click here).

Indeed the tide seems to be changing for the Algarve, which Fernandes says is a sign of the region’s increasing recognition as a “safe destination”.

“Unless something unpredictable happens like the appearance of a new variant, the Algarve will certainly have a better summer than last year,” the tourism chief told Lusa news agency, adding that both national and foreign holidaymakers are expressing interest in a summer holiday in the Algarve.

Said Fernandes, the tourism ‘boom’ will be felt as soon as this month, but even more so in the so-called high season of June, July and August.

Meanwhile, the number of booked golf rounds is also at “very interesting levels”, the president of the Algarve’s two largest tourism entities – RTA and ATA – said.

The region’s tourism sector already had “good expectations” regarding the national, Spanish, and Irish markets, said Fernandes, and the fact that Germany is no longer considering the Algarve a “risk area” will also pave the way for more German tourists to enjoy a summer getaway in Portugal’s southernmost region.

The UK’s decision to ‘green list’ Portugal will also improve the country’s notoriety as a safe destination, he added.

In fact, starting on Monday (May 17), the number of flights linking Faro and the UK is expected to increase from one to 20.

But for any of this to mean anything, Fernandes stressed that it is “essential” that the Portuguese government allow “non-essential travel” between the two countries and announce the decision this Thursday at the Council of Ministers.

“That is our expectation, all signs point in that direction, but obviously the news has to come out so that airlines, operators and the tourism sector have the confidence that this potential will come true,” he said.

michael.bruxo@algarveresident.com