By NATASHA SMITH
Tourism in the Algarve held steady in October in comparison to the corresponding month in 2005.
According to statistics released by Faro airport, there was a slight fall of 873 passengers, or 0.2 per cent, arriving.
Despite the drop, room occupancies were up half a per cent in the month, at 60.6 per cent, and bed occupancies also rose by half a per cent to reach 49.3 per cent compared with the same time last year.
Although most of these figures are positive, many hoteliers are disappointed because the difference between October 2004 and 2005 were more significant, with 2005 experiencing a rise in tourism of eight per cent over the previous year.
Elidérico Viegas, president of the Associação de Hotéis e Empreendimentos Turísticos do Algarve, (AHETA), the Algarve hotels and resorts association, said that the seasonal tourism in the Algarve is still an issue and is made even more poignant with the drop in passengers going through the airport.
The reduction in passenger numbers does not seem to have affected the golf industry in the Algarve.
The Resident contacted a number of courses in the region, who all said that there were more rounds of golf in October than the same month last year.
Staff at Vila Sol, near Quarteira and Vale do Lobo’s Ocean and Royal courses said that there had been more rounds of golf played this October than in October 2005.
São Lourenço golf course in Quinta do Lago recorded a rise of 8.9 per cent against October 2005. Quinta do Lago’s north and south courses had a combined total of 11,494 rounds of golf, which is 1,249 more than October last year.
Sara Marques from the Algarve Golf Association said that there were eight per cent more rounds of golf played in October than last year at the same time. She was awaiting statistics from two golf courses, but it is unlikely that the figure would alter drastically.
Hélder Martins, the president of the Região de Turismo do Algarve, Algarve tourist board told The Resident that passenger numbers should increase during the winter months in 2007 with the introduction of more flight routes from Milan, Barcelona and cities in Germany.