Allgarve faces the axe

by SOPHIE MCCARRICK [email protected]

Five years after being established, the Allgarve programme to promote a series of events in the region is facing the axe.

Set up by the then Minister of Economy Manuel Pinho in 2007, the Allgarve programme has worked towards advertising the region as a tourist destination by focusing on all the leisure activities available throughout the region, with an annual budget of approximately €5 million.

Elidérico Viegas, President of the Algarve Hotels and Tourist Resorts association (AHETA), told Lusa news agency that the cessation of the Allgarve programme is “a national imperative” and that it “did not bring any financial return to the region”.

He also compared the scheme to “money thrown into the street” and claimed that tourist activities should be advocated by “another concept”.

Elidérico Viegas said it had “failed to meet the objectives that it initially proposed,” which was primarily to bring more people to the Algarve.

In addition to reasoning against the Allgarve scheme, the Algarve Tourism Board Turismo do Algarve and Turismo de Portugal agreed in November 2011 that they were going to place great emphasis on “sun, sand and golf” in 2012 when promoting the Algarve as a holiday destination.

Meanwhile, the Allgarve project had adopted an alternative approach by bringing attention primarily to the Algarve as a tourist destination associated with glamour and sophistication.

Secretary of State for Tourism, Cecilia Meireles, said in a statement to Ambitur magazine that the Allgarve project “was not the correct way to promote the region”.

However, she said that Allgarve “is now under review”, opening the possibility that it may continue to operate.

At a press conference held in Faro on January 27, President of the Algarve Tourism Board, António Pina, said that with or without Allgarve, he would guarantee that an alternative substantial programme of events promoting the Algarve is created.

Do you have a view on this story? Please email Editor Inês Lopes at [email protected]

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