AMAL leader vows Via Algarviana “won’t be forgotten”

Local politicians have confirmed they will be meeting in September to discuss a management model to save the trans-Algarve nature walk Via Algarviana – currently “locked in limbo” with zero funding.

Talking to Lusa news agency, Jorge Botelho – leader of AMAL, the association of Algarve borough councils – vowed the importance of finding a solution for the trail will “not be forgotten”.

But Almargem, the NGO that has been running the project since its inception in 2009, says each Algarve council will still need to pledge €1,700 to keep the trail going “for the next few months” until a final plan is agreed upon.

As Almargem coordinator Anabela Santos explained, at the outset the Via only involved the 300km route that stretches from Alcoutim in the east to Sagres in the west. Now, it involves another 500km of secondary paths and walkways, and the overheads involved have thus increased exponentially to the point where Almargem has run out of money (click here Money runs out for Via Algarviana walking trail).

Businesses too have voiced their concerns via ACRAL, the Algarve retailers’ association.

President Víctor Guerreiro said the Via is “essential for the development of the Algarve’s inland areas” and that it is important too for establishing the Algarve as a premier nature tourism destination “especially in the low season” – to help fight the habitual problem of seasonality.

Politicians have to set aside their own interests, he warned, in the interests of the Algarve as a whole.