Hoteliers warn: €150 million support fund not yet available

Hotel association Associação de Hotelaria de Portugal (AHP) has rung the alarm bells this week, warning that the €150 million support fund announced by the government to help the tourism sector deal with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic is not yet available to hotels.

AHP president Raul Martins laments that hotels have yet to see any concrete action to make the “much-needed” funds available to them.

“After the announcements made and after the Banco de Fomento (state-owned investment and development bank) publicised a €150 million support fund for tourism (…), nothing has happened. Where are the bank protocols? Which banks have joined? When can entrepreneurs contact their bank,” questioned Martins.

“We are doing everything we can to survive this storm,” the AHP leader said, adding that uncertainty is a daily concern and that public support is desperately needed to keep the hotel sector afloat.

“Public support is indispensable for the hotel sector to overcome the economic consequences of the fifth wave and to prepare for future recovery,” he added.

As he pointed out, the summer of 2021 showed positive signs of recovery and gave hotels hope that they could finally begin to turn the page. However, the latest restrictions announced for the holiday season – which Martins described as “confusing and erratic” – spelled “terrible” consequences for hotels, many of which had invested considerably to stay open for Christmas and New Year’s.

“We already know what followed: while some hotels were still able to achieve positive results, most of the hotel sector has completely run out of capital, with a depleted treasury and without meansto survive the coming times,” said Martins, leaving another dire warning.

“Furthermore, the first quarter of 2022 is going to be much worse than we had predicted.”

michael.bruxo@algarveresident.com