Portimão coastline, near Prainha Photo: Inês Lopes/Open Media Group

“Algarve vaccination should be a priority,” says hotel association

The Portuguese Hotel Association (AHP) said this week that the Algarve should be given priority in the national vaccination programme, as the region is “the main tourist destination in Portugal” and its economy “largely depends on the sector”.

The association suggests the vaccination priority should be for the population in general, not just “tourism professionals”, in a bid to ensure “the quick recovery of the tourism sector” and the survival of companies and jobs.

As AHP points out, the Algarve accounts for 33% of all overnight stays by foreign holidaymakers in Portugal and around €1.2 billion of tourism revenue, according to data revealed by the national statistics institute (INE) in 2019.

Reports tourism newspaper Publituris, the association’s proposal has already been presented to Portugal’s Covid-19 vaccination task force.

AHP president Raúl Martins explained that the sooner the Algarve population is vaccinated, the sooner the region’s economy and tourist activity will recover, which is particularly important considering the “fierce competition” posed by other destinations.

The association highlights that rival destinations such as Greece have already included tourism workers in their priority vaccination groups in order to resume activity under safe conditions.

AHP wants to take things further and suggests that vaccinating the entire adult population in the Algarve as quickly as possible would ensure international recognition as a “safe destination”.

It’s been widely reported that the Algarve has suffered an “absolutely disproportional” impact from the Covid-19 pandemic in terms of unemployment levels when compared to other regions of Portugal, revealed a recent report by the country’s Inequality Observatory (click here).

michael.bruxo@algarveresident.com