Covid-19: Algarve hotels “closing or staying closed”

Many of the region’s hotels are closing or staying closed due to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the local tourism sector.

Speaking to the Resident this morning, Elidérico Viegas, president of the Algarve’s hotelier association (AHETA), said the pandemic is seriously affecting the hotel sector.

“Around half of the region’s hotels close for the winter and reopen for Easter. However, the vast majority are now deciding to stay closed,” he told us.

“This is an ongoing situation, which is constantly evolving,” he said, adding that, for now, most hotels see no reason to reopen or stay open.

“There is no justification for them to do so,” he added.

The reason boils down to global fear of Covid-19, restrictions on travelling, including the cancellation of thousands of flights and border control, and, generally, recommendations against travelling while the outbreak is in full force.

Portugal has even closed its borders to tourism from Spain, one of the Algarve’s main markets at Easter.

Viegas was reluctant to refer to any of the hotels and resorts by name, saying only that there are “so many” in this situation that he did not feel it would make sense.

Earlier this week, Viegas had already reported that around 80% of the association’s members reported a decrease of around 30% in bookings compared to the same period last year.