English speaker slammed at tourism conference.jpg

English speaker slammed at tourism conference


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A BRITISH speaker who gave an introductory talk in English at a tourism conference in Portimão was accused of being rude and impolite by some Portuguese members of the audience.

Jenny Compton, a member of the Associação Arqueologica do Algarve, the Algarve archaeology association, addressed the audience on Thursday in English, generating negative comments at the end of the morning session from some non-English speaking employees of the tourism

Tomb number seven is the best preserved in the necropolis of Alcalar and can be entered by visitors.
Tomb number seven is the best preserved in the necropolis of Alcalar and can be entered by visitors.


They used the debate at the end of the session to express their disapproval of English being used by Jenny Compton and in the visual aids of some Portuguese speakers.

“I do not speak English and am Portuguese and attending a conference in Portugal, so why should one of the speakers not speak my language?” said one man in the audience, adding: “It is just bad manners and the professor from the University of the Algarve obviously couldn’t be bothered to translate her visual aids into Portuguese either.”

In Jenny Compton’s defence, several of her Portuguese and English colleagues spoke of how grateful the Portuguese should be to have such helpful and involved foreign members in their community who raise much needed funds for archaeological research and charities across the region.

This topic, and also the fact that the President of Portimão Câmara, Manuel da Luz, and a representative of the Região de Turismo do Algarve, the regional tourism board, Nuno Aires, left after their speeches generated a heated debate throughout the day.

“What is the point of discussing new strategies and ideas for the promotion of Portuguese heritage within the tourism industry if the people who have the power to apply these measures leave within the first 10 minutes,” said one member of the audience, who works as a tour guide in the region and asked not to be named.


Aside from this debate, the prehistoric monuments of Alcalar were the main focus of the conference, organised by Portimão’s new municipal museum to discuss the uses of heritage and culture within the tourist industry.

During the conference, Rui Pereira, one of the archaeologists in charge of excavating the prehistoric monuments at Alcalar, gave a talk about the monument and its history as well as its potential as a site to be visited by tourists.

“This world renowned site was developed by an independent society that inhabited the south-western coast of Iberia during the Chalcolithic period, between 4500 and 3500 BC,” said Rui Pereira, adding: “Of the 18 megalithic tombs, the one catalogued as number seven is the most famous and best preserved which can be visited.”

A short documentary produced by the Portimão Museum was also shown before its director José Gameiro gave the audience a preview of the new museum.

“The museum will be opening in April 2008 and is located in a renovated tinned fish factory,” he said.

During the afternoon, free transport was made available to visit the prehistoric monument at Alcalar and its visitors centre.

The turning for the monument at Alcalar can be found on the EN125 between Portimão and Lagos, opposite the Meridien Penina hotel.

For more information please telephone the Portimão museum on 282 412 238 or email [email protected]ão.pt.

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