André Jordan, one of the founders of the luxury golf resort tourism concept in Portugal, has received the Grand Cross of the Order of Commercial Merit directly from the hands of President of the Republic Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.
The ceremony was held on Tuesday, April 11 at Belém Palace in Lisbon and saw several other people and institutions being honoured.
“Firstly, I was very surprised. I was not expecting it at all,” André Jordan told the Resident. “It was a beautiful ceremony, and I heard some very touching words.”
But perhaps more important than seeing his contributions recognised was seeing the importance of tourism and real estate development recognised, he said.
“All you need to do is look at Loulé or Albufeira in the Algarve to see the prosperity that these sectors have brought to local councils,” the 89-year-old entrepreneur said.
Jordan also explained that he contributed to the development of tourism in Portugal at a time when “all the investment came out of our pockets and there weren’t tax incentives for foreigners or funding”.
“As we all know, Portugal today is a country that is in high demand for travelling and to live in, so I am very happy, both for myself and for everyone who worked with me along the way.”
André Jordan is no stranger to these kinds of honours and awards. In 2021, he was named an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) by the late Queen Elizabeth II for his “dedication, involvement and services provided” to the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award (DofE), a youth awards programme founded in the United Kingdom by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, in 1956.
Last year, he received the Career Award (Prémio Carreira) at the Prémio Nacional de Turismo 2021, which recognises the best companies, practices, and tourism projects in Portugal.
One of his career’s crowning achievements was the launch of the Quinta do Lago resort in the Algarve, which has gone on to become one of the region’s flagship luxury destinations. However, his many contributions helped shape the country’s tourism, golf and real estate sectors as we know them today.
The other people honoured at the ceremony were Jorge Ferreira Miguéis, posthumously awarded the rank of Commander of the Order of Infante D. Henrique; António Moreira Antunes, awarded the rank of Commander of the Order of Liberty; Engineer José Domingos Vístulo de Abreu, who received the insignia of Grand Cross of the Order of Merit; and Engineer Raul Martins, honoured with the insignia of Grand Officer of the Order of Industrial Merit.
Several institutions and associations were also celebrated, including the Automóvel Club de Portugal (ACP), granted the insignia of Honorary Member of the Military Order of Christ; Eça de Queirós Circle, honoured with the insignia of Honorary Member of the Order of Infante D. Henrique; Association of Portuguese Diplomats’ Families (AFDP), which received the insignia of Honorary Member of the Order of Infante D. Henrique; Association of the Bazaar of Diplomatic Corps, honoured with the insignia of Honorary Member of the Order of Merit; and the Order of Certified Public Accountants, which received the insignia of Honorary Member of the Order of Merit.
Working conditions must be improved
With Portugal still celebrating a bumper Easter, the national tourism sector seems to be back on track after a period of hardship brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.
But to continue this trend of growth, Portugal must tackle the shortage of workers in its tourism sector.
“The tourism sector must improve working conditions for its employees. Just the other day I read an interview with Rui Paula, one of Portugal’s most important chefs and restaurant owners, who said that a mandatory tip should be charged at hotels and restaurants,” said André Jordan.
“He said that restaurant and hotel workers in the USA make a living off of their tips, which is something that should be considered here. Working in this sector means working under very difficult conditions. Something has to be done to tackle this shortage of workers.”