Rita Marques, Secretary of State for Tourism
Rita Marques, photographed when she was Secretary of State for Tourism Photo: JOÃO RELVAS/LUSA

€200 million to “Reactivate Tourism” in Algarve

‘+ Algarve’ to replace ‘365 Algarve’ programme

The Algarve will be the only region in Portugal to benefit from a special €200 million programme designed to bolster its tourism sector.

So said Secretary of State for Tourism, Rita Marques, during a visit to the Eastern Algarve town of Castro Marim on Tuesday (May 17).

The special support package entitled ‘+ Algarve’ will be attributed to the Algarve via the ‘Reativar Turismo | Construir o Futuro’ (Reactivate Tourism | Build the Future) plan – which has €6 billion set aside for the national tourism sector.

Further details are being kept under wraps for now.

“We are working with the competent authorities to be able to divulge all the details as quickly as possible,” the secretary of state told Sulinformação.

Despite refusing to elaborate, the secretary of state told the regional news website that the ‘+ Algarve’ programme will be a successor of the ‘365 Algarve’ programme, as one of its goals will be to “attract and promote international events”.

‘365 Algarve’ was created in 2016 in a bid to boost the region’s cultural scene between October and May. Its main goal was to show holidaymakers that the Algarve has all the conditions to host events all year round, even during the so-called “low season”.

Last June, Rita Marques confirmed that the government was working on a new version of the cultural programme.

As she explained, the reason that the Algarve is the only region “deserving of positive discrimination as part of ‘Reativar Turismo’” is the “importance of the sector in the region and its contribution to Portugal’s international exposure.

The secretary of state added that ‘Reativar Turismo’ is financed by three kinds of funds: “the touristic revenue from Turismo de Portugal (national tourism board); an important part provided by Operational Programmes; and lastly, another important component that cannot be overlooked, (support) from the private sector.”

Rita Marques also reviewed her two-day visit to the Algarve, which saw her stopping off in Lagos, Monchique, Castro Marim and Vila Real de Santo António.

“I had the opportunity to discover some innovative projects which help diversify the touristic product. I was also able to meet with entrepreneurs and learn what difficulties they are facing at this moment of recovery.

“There is strong recovery, it’s true, very much desired and earned, but there are also difficulties, mainly in terms of capital and talent,” the secretary of state said, citing the lack of human resources haunting the Algarve.

“They are lacking in quality and quantity. That means we have to find new ways of attracting that talent and keeping it.”

Two other issues plaguing the Algarve are a lack of housing and the lacklustre public transportation network.

“We are working on solutions with the Secretary of State for Housing and Secretary of State for Mobility. In a region like the Algarve, it is fundamental to create the conditions to be able to attract and retain people here.”

By Michael Bruxo
[email protected]