Hoteliers have pulled no punches in their appraisal of the ‘365 Algarve’ programme, which they vehemently slam for failing to boost winter tourism. The main issue, they believe, is that it lacks events big enough to pull holidaymakers to the region.
“This is not the programme the Algarve needs,” Elidérico Viegas, head of the Algarve’s hoteliers association AHETA, told regional news website Sulinformação.
He believes the Algarve needs a true plan with big international events that will undoubtedly attract people, as he told us in October (click here)
João Soares from Portugal’s hoteliers association (AHP) agrees, saying that the programme “needs to be improved alongside hoteliers”.
“We know what people want (to do) when they are staying at hotels in winter,” he said.
Both hotel bosses also guaranteed that it was not due to a lack of promotion that the initiative has failed to live up to expectations, as they promoted it as best they could.
The programme is halfway through its October 2016 and May 2017 run, with a second edition already planned for the same upcoming period. It was launched with a €1.5 million budget and over 1,000 small-scale events scheduled throughout the region.
Dália Paulo, the project’s mentor, has defended it saying that “its goal was to strengthen the Algarve brand” and was “never meant to combat seasonality per se, but to be a tool, a useful tool, for tourists to have a different experience” in the Algarve.
“If it had been created with the intention of hosting big events, the budget would have been different,” she said.
Regional tourism boss Desidério Silva also weighed in, saying he believes there is potential in ‘365 Algarve’ thought its flaws need to be addressed.
“It is important that the programme include two or three big events,” he said, supporting Viegas’ argument.
He added that the University of the Algarve is studying its successes and failures and that other sectors, such as nature tourism, also need to be developed as ‘365 Algarve’ cannot alone turn the region into a thriving winter destination.
Meantime, tourism authorities have started accepting ideas for events to be included in next programme.
Anyone can pitch ideas by filling out a form at www.turismodoalgarve.pt/projetos-e-iniciativas/365-algarve.html. For more information, contact [email protected]