The Algarve’s car rental industry has been plunged into a devastating crisis this summer due to the impact the pandemic has had on the region’s tourism industry.
The situation is so dire that the demand for rental cars in the Algarve is lower now than it was at the end of February or the start of March. “This says it all,” Armando Santana, president of the Association of Car Rental Companies in the Algarve (ARA), told TSF radio this week.
As he explained, most of the 18,000 rental cars that are usually booked for the summer season are ‘parked up’. It is no surprise considering how reliant the region’s car rental sector is on foreign holidaymakers.
While Portuguese tourists can help make up some of the losses for the hotel and restaurant sectors, the same cannot be said for the rent-a-car industry.
“They (Portuguese tourists) have their own cars,” Santana said, adding that “as much as we respect the national tourism market” it doesn’t translate into more business for car rental companies.
And with the Algarve welcoming nowhere near the same number of foreign tourists it usually does, car rental companies are left with virtually no clients.
The pandemic is also taking its toll on car rental sales, which dropped a whopping 96% “at a time when many companies were preparing to purchase new fleets for the Easter and summer seasons,” Santana said.
In April, ARA had already complained that the sector was facing an “unprecedented crisis” and that the region’s 46 car rental companies were losing “millions of euros” (click here)