Algarve tourism boss predicts 2019 will be challenging year

Algarve tourism boss João Fernandes has said 2019 will be a “year of challenges” for the regional tourism sector.

In a statement sent out to the press, the president of both the Algarve tourism board (RTA) and the Algarve tourism association (ATA) said that the time is now to start preparing for the effects of Brexit and the re-emergence of rival destinations.

Fernandes believes that “the main consequences” will only be felt in 2020, so tourism authorities in the Algarve will be “focused on finding solutions and alternatives that contribute to the sustainable development of Algarve tourism”.

“We are pleased to note that the entire sector is mobilised in the effort to combat and adapt to this new reality,” he said.

But to do so, the Algarve has to “continue to grow in value instead of being driven by a price competition, especially with destinations such as Tunisia, Egypt or Turkey,” said Fernandes.

The focus should be on promoting the Algarve’s authenticity and unique qualities, he said, and not trying to offer the cheapest holiday experience possible.

“Our strategy is to make the experience of those who visit us more enriching, authentic and memorable, and we are doing so, successfully, through a greater integration and interaction of our tourists with local life,” said the tourism chief, adding that the goal is to attract tourists with spending power and who value a more sustainable kind of experience.

The UK will remain a prime target “as always”, with the goal being to turn occasional and regular visitors into “ambassadors” of the Algarve.

ATA is also trying to strengthen the number of air links and promotional actions in countries such as France and Italy, where more and more people have been travelling from to either visit or live in the Algarve.

Golf will continue to play a key role in bringing holidaymakers flocking to the Algarve during the winter, particularly from countries like Sweden and Denmark, which now boast more air links to Faro.

The Algarve is also welcoming more and more Brazilian, American and Canadian tourists who are attracted by the region’s “gastronomy, culture and nature tourism”.

Finally, ATA will also focus on developing the residential tourism sector, which has been “growing and contributing significantly to the promotion of regional diversity”.

michael.bruxo@algarveresident.com