The Algarve’s tourism boss has high expectations for the coming months after a summer which many have admitted has gone as well as it could have for the sector, and in some cases, even better than expected.
Speaking to online newspaper i, João Fernandes said that the arrival of golfers for the region’s golf high season between September and November could give the region a very welcome boost.
“We have many bookings from these markets which we obviously hope will come to fruition,” said Fernandes, who is well-aware of how quickly the paradigm can change during a pandemic.
“There are some interesting signs for September, October and November but they are all dependant on the context of the moment,” said Fernandes, stressing however that things are looking good.
“We are expecting strong demand for nature tourism, nautical tourism and golf which are at their best in September, October and November,” said the tourism chief, adding that while bookings will not reach the same levels as August, they will still be “equally important.”
The Algarve is also hoping that the UK’s school holidays in October may bring more Brits to the Algarve, and that the MotoGP race which is due to go ahead at the Algarve International Racetrack (AIA) in Portimão may also pull people to the region in November.
“With our own Miguel Oliveira competing as well as Valentino Rossi, who will be making one of his last appearances at this level, I believe we will have a full house at the AIA, which will be limited to 75% of its capacity,” said Fernandes, adding that tickets are “being sold quickly.”
Thus there is naturally a feeling of optimism that tourism may finally be getting back on its feet which extends beyond the Algarve.
Alentejo tourism chief Vìtor Silva told i that he believes the regional tourism sector will remain on the road to recovery, so long as the pandemic remains “more or less under control”.
New measures announced recently which ease travel to some important destinations, such as Brazil, are expected to boost tourism in the region.
“Brazilians, who represent a very important market for the Alentejo, are dying to travel,” he said.
In Portugal’s Centre region, expectations are also high that the recovery of tourism is ‘here to stay’.
“We are not as affected by seasonality as other regions, so as long as the pandemic does not bring us any negative surprises, we believe that the recovery is here to stay and that the numbers will remain positive until the end of the year,” said the Centre’s tourism boss Pedro Machado.
Expectations are also running high in the North and Porto.
“With the promotion work that we have carried out, with the implementation of a digital vaccination certificate and the progressive opening of international markets, we have no doubts that the recovery of the sector will continue in an ascending curve,” said the North and Porto’s tourism board president Luís Pedro Martins.
By MICHAEL BRUXO