Easter boosts tourism expectations

By DAISY SAMPSON [email protected]

Bustling streets, busy restaurants and bright skies completed a sunny picture in the Algarve this Easter weekend with the return of the tourists marking a change in winter fortune for many businesses relying on the tourist trade.

President of the Regional Tourism Board (ERTA), Nuno Aires told the Algarve Resident that the increase in tourist trade over Easter, which was unexpected within the industry, marks a move towards a brighter summer season in the region that had been hard hit by the global economic crisis last year.

Algarve tourism chief Nuno Aires has high hopes for 2010.
Algarve tourism chief Nuno Aires has high hopes for 2010.

Nuno Aires said: “I spoke with many hotel groups over the Easter weekend, a period which traditionally marks the beginning of the Algarve ‘sun and sea’ season, and overall occupancy rates were very interesting.

“The majority of the tourists in the Algarve over Easter were Spanish and Portuguese, however these are traditional markets at this time of year.  We are now expecting to feel the positive effects of the many new low cost airline routes from Faro airport, which should see other nationalities coming to the Algarve for their holidays.”

While Easter was busy in the Algarve, the early date of the holiday means that industry experts are expecting a lull in trade before the real summer season begins in earnest in May.  Despite this, Nuno Aires is confident that 2010 will be a positive year for summer tourism.

“Already we have had a very positive response to our Algarve tourism campaigns and hotel reservations in the region for May are already higher than they were last year,” said Nuno Aires.

“I am confident that our marketing campaigns for the Algarve will have a very positive outcome during 2010.”

Although there are high hopes for a more prosperous summer in the Algarve, Nuno Aires believes that continued promotion of the region as a tourist destination for both foreign and national tourists is the only way to ensure that the momentum of over Easter can be maintained.

“We intend to keep on marketing the region as an overseas destination while also concentrating on the national market,” he said.

Meanwhile, tourism schools in Portugal have launched a campaign to encourage more youngsters to learn about the industry, therefore increasing the number of qualified employees in the sector to help meet demands across Portugal.

The schools have invested 300,000 euros in a campaign that will run until the end of the year across Portugal on billboards, in press advertisements and across the internet to help promote a career within the tourism industry.

According to data from the schools, more than 80 per cent of students from the courses found work within 30 days.