André Gomes succeeds João Fernandes
It was Gomes’ first public appearance as the region’s new tourism chief and also the first time he revealed his stance on some of the region’s key issues, from the tourist tax charged in some Algarve municipalities to the “insufficient” funding provided to tourism authorities in the Algarve.
According to Gomes, the tourist tax – which is already charged in Faro, Vila Real de Santo António and Olhão – could serve as “stimulus to the local economy.”
As he explained, these taxes can serve as potential sources of additional funding for promoting tourism and developing infrastructures needed to meet the needs of both residents and tourists.
He also defended that the tax should be expanded to other boroughs, stating that it can help the region invest in strategies that “attract the attention of companies and investors” and “promote the Algarve as an attractive destination” for investments in infrastructures and international events.
The new tourism boss also believes that the tourist tax could be beneficial to the local economy since the region has been attracting more tourists thanks to several large international events.
Said Gomes, this influx has “positively impacted hotels, restaurants, commerce, and other sectors, creating temporary and permanent employment in the region and strengthening its image as a top destination.”
Also attending the event was Nuno Fazenda, Secretary of State for Tourism, who announced that an additional “extraordinary reinforcement” of €3 million would be granted to boost the region’s tourism promotion and events.
This money will be used in 2023 to 2024 to support events such as the “largest meeting of travel agents and tourism from Germany” and the “Michelin Star Revelation Gala,” which will take place in Portugal for the first time.
This announcement perhaps was not as warmly welcomed as expected, as André Gomes did voice his concerns over the Algarve’s tourism budget.
According to Gomes, the budget should be around €5.5 million, as opposed to the current €4.1 million allocated by the State to the “most important tourism region in the country.”
Gomes also highlighted the need for a coordinated strategy for managing tourist offices in the region, working closely with municipalities and focusing on economic and financial viability.
“Tourist offices play a crucial role in providing information, given that they carry out around half a million in-person visits per year,” he said, lamenting however that there isn’t a “specific and uniform management” of these spaces.
The inauguration of the executive bodies of RTA for 2023-2028 was attended by more than 300 guests, including Minister of the Environment, Duarte Cordeiro, Secretary of State for Fisheries, Teresa Coelho, and Secretary of State for the Environment, Hugo Pires.
By Beatriz Maio