Around 10,000 people are said to have arrived in the Algarve at Faro Airport last weekend, helping to make this February “one of the best ever” for the regional tourism sector, according to a report by RTP.
But this is still just a “drop in the ocean” of what the Algarve has to offer and as Hélder Martins, president of the Algarve hoteliers association (AHETA), told the news channel: “This is the middle of winter still, it’s February, it’s low season, and that has not changed from one day to another.”
However, the number of flights, according to (Faro) Airport, is at the level it was in 2019, “which is great news,” said a delighted Martins. “The passenger seat occupancy rate, which up until recently was very low, has increased significantly. A destination like the Algarve, with thousands of beds, has so much to offer.”
Bar owners and hotel managers told RTP that although they have noticed an increase in tourists compared to previous years, numbers are still not high enough to make up for the losses they have experienced during the pandemic.
Nevertheless, tourist towns like Albufeira, Vilamoura, Carvoeiro and Lagos are slowly coming back to life, and this is largely thanks to the easing of travel restrictions to enter Portugal.
Retailers, bar and restaurant owners are indeed reporting an increase in business this week as tourists can be seen in larger numbers, walking the streets, on beaches and bar terraces, enjoying the spring-like weather.
According to the latest travel rules, arriving air passengers carrying a valid EU Covid-19 Digital Certificate or another recognised proof of vaccination – such as the UK’s NHS Covid Pass – no longer need to present a negative Covid-19 test (click here).