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Fewer Easter tourists expected

Around 500,000 fewer tourists are expected to visit the Algarve this Easter holiday, suggesting a 10% fall in business on last year for tourist related commercial activities.

Elidérico Viegas, president of the Algarve Hotels and Tourist Resorts Association (AHETA), said this week that he was concerned about a reduction in Spanish visitors to the region and partly blames the tolls for this.

He said: “There will still be many visitors in the region, however the tradition to holiday in the Algarve at this time of the year will not be like it used to. The great floods of the past are over.”

With the introduction of the A22 tolling system, hoteliers are complaining that Spanish tourists are no longer travelling over the border, resulting in a decrease of more than 20% in visitors.

Elidérico Viegas said: “The Spanish market has grown in recent years but the tolls are driving them away.”

António Pina, president of the Algarve Tourism Board, says the government has “shot itself in the foot” with the measure.

A total of 18 beach concessions throughout the region will be open, with lifeguards, ready to welcome tourists for Easter.