Euro 2004 fails expectations

ACCORDING to the Hotel and Tourism Association of the Algarve (AHETA), the Euro 2004 football tournament won’t have a ‘miracle effect’ on the Algarve, in terms of hotel occupation.

Hotel operators in the region have revealed that there will be vacancies available during the supposedly busiest months, June and July. “Contrary to expectations, the Euro tournament has not contributed towards hotel occupancy,” the president of AHETA, Elidérico Viegas explained. A further problem is that some hotels have been so vociferous about their predicted 100 per cent occupancy levels that people are not considering the Algarve this summer, as they are assuming it is fully booked. However, the president of the Algarve Tourist Board (RTA), Hélder Martins, remains optimistic. “I am confident that there will be last minute reservations and that our hotels will be full,” he said.

Viegas revealed that the current summer bookings are at around 80 per cent throughout the Algarve. However, in cities such as Lagos and Sagres, hotel bookings have only reached 60 per cent. And in places such as Monte Gordo, Carvoeiro and Armação de Pêra, hotel occupancy is currently just above 60 per cent. “The percentages are similar to last year, which were already considered bad,” said Viegas.

According to AHETA statistics, tourism in the Algarve in general is expected to remain at the same level as last year. However, the study revealed that the number of Dutch and German tourism will drop, British tourist numbers will remain steady and Portuguese visitors will increase, “but this has nothing to do with the Euro 2004,” Viegas said.

The AHETA president has also stated that AHETA is unhappy with the fact that, for several months, the media has been suggesting that there were no more hotel vacancies during the Euro 2004 tournament. “It’s a total lie that the hotels are fully booked and that the prices have gone up. If anything, the prices are going down. These statements will only put people off coming to the Algarve,” he explained.