AMAL – the association of municipalities in the Algarve – has joined the chorus of condemnation following the British government’s effective travel veto issued yesterday. But more importantly, it says, the situation means businesses desperately need continued government support.
For the Algarve’s mayors and mayoresses, the UK’s decision “undermines efforts made by European countries to allow people to circulate and contribute to economic recovery”.
On the one hand “it came so quickly after a positive expectation had been created, which animated the Algarve. And on the other it has had an enormous negative impact on a region that is dependent on tourism and has been one of the most affected areas of the country since the start of the pandemic”.
There has been a cascade of cancellations since Britain pulled Portugal from its ‘green travel listing’. For this reason, the association is “appealing to the government to maintain support to Algarve businesses as a way of minimising the impact of investments assumed” (particularly when it comes to businesses hiring extra staff), and compensating for yet another blow to the slow process of regional economic recovery.
AMAL writes that it “profoundly laments” the fact the region “is no longer the option for many foreigners” but hopes the British decision “does not contaminate the perception of other countries”.
The association “guarantees the Algarve is prepared to receive holidaymakers in safety and to accompany the evolution of the pandemic with great care”.
Regional tourism boss João Fernandes has been equally diplomatic on receipt of yesterday’s bombshell. In a statement he labelled the British decision “completely unfair” but held out hope that it may be reversed at the next ‘evaluation’ in three weeks time.
The only option for Portugal – and indeed the Algarve – in the meantime, he said, is to “continue to bet on other markets like those from Germany, France, Ireland, Spain and the Netherlands – all of which are “recognising Portugal as a safe destination and the best beach destination in the world, according to latest recognition by the World Travel Awards”.