Allgarve launch sparks controversy

By DAISY SAMPSON [email protected]

António Pina, President of the Algarve regional tourism board (ERTA), introduced the third Allgarve programme of events at the ERTA building in Faro on Tuesday, amid a cloud of accusations from disgruntled members of Algarve Câmaras.

The enormous calendar of sporting, cultural, musical and artistic events was presented to press and members of the Algarve Câmaras, however, not all those assembled greeted the plans with approval and criticism was fired at the representatives of Allgarve for failing to include all the Câmaras of the region, and for concentrating the programme too heavily in August and in the central Algarve.

A councillor from Tavira accused the organisers of failing to include Câmaras from the extreme west and east of the region, and claimed that the Allgarve programme was heavily biased towards certain Câmaras in the central Algarve.

“We emailed all the Câmaras of the Algarve in January and February asking if they would like to be involved in the Allgarve calendar and to submit suggestions for events. Allgarve is open to all, but it is the responsibility of the Câmaras to approach us with their ideas,” said one of the Allgarve organisers.

José Viegas from Lagos Câmara also remarked on the closed nature of the programme: “Last year we felt that the programme was closed to us and this year it appears to be the same.

He added: “We have a sweets fair in Lagos that would fit with the Allgarve remit but it has not been included, yet the sardine festival (Portimão) and seafood festival (Olhão)are involved. Why is the sweets fair not suitable for the calendar?”

Attracting crowds

In response to why the largest events will be taking place in August, the month traditionally associated with the highest levels of tourism in the region, the Allgarve representatives answered that they need to ensure the greatest numbers of crowds for the largest events, and added that they felt if these events were held in either June or September they would not sell out.

Despite the criticisms, the third Allgarve programme promises to be varied with a new dance section including international DJs to help attract younger participants in events.

For further information about Allgarve please visit (available in English and Portuguese).