Major investment to help Monchique rise from the ashes

Monchique’s nature tourism sector is due to be ‘revitalised’ following the announcement of a new investment by the government worth €431,000.

The plan is to recover hiking and cycling trails that were destroyed by last summer’s wildfire, create new ones and find other ways of making the borough even more attractive to visitors, including the creation of local travel itineraries and a hiking festival.

The announcement came four months after the devastating fire that decimated a large part of Monchique’s countryside and also spread to the neighbouring boroughs of Silves and Portimão.

Secretary of State for Tourism, Ana Mendes Godinho, travelled to Monchique on Tuesday (January 15) to officially announce the project, entitled ‘Revitalisar Monchique – o turismo como catalizador’ (Revitalising Monchique – tourism as a catalyst).

The idea, she told members of the press, is to promote “this other side of the Algarve which is becoming more and more appealing” to holidaymakers who want more than just the sun and beaches, and also help Monchique get back up on its feet following this summer’s wildfire.

The project is funded completely by the national tourism authority Turismo de Portugal and is backed by the Algarve tourism association, Monchique council and environmental association Almargem.

Anabela Santos from Almargem said that around 80 kilometres of the Via Algarviana trail were destroyed by the fire as well as several other complementary paths and signposting.

However, the fire exposed some other “medieval trails and norias (water wheels”, which can be added to the region-wide walking trail to be developed throughout this year. The renovation of the destroyed trails is expected to start very soon.

Santos also called on local businesspeople and associations to contribute to the project by presenting their own ideas and suggestions. One of the ideas involves creating a local hiking festival as Monchique is seen as ‘the’ perfect location to hold such an event in the Algarve.

Monchique mayor Rui André said he was delighted with the plans and hopes they can help bolster the local tourism sector, with businesses working together to promote what makes the mountainside community so special, from its stunning landscapes and tranquility to its traditional gastronomy.

In fact, hopes are that the local community will help create travel itineraries which could provide tourists with a full experience including hikes, cycling, gastronomy, culture and much more.

Another project, ‘SustenTUR Algarve’, was also unveiled at the event. Representing a €204,000 investment, the initiative aims to bring together public and private entities to promote the region’s natural and cultural heritage in a sustainable manner.

Turismo de Portugal also signed a cooperation protocol with David Thomas, the president of the Safe Communities Association, with the objective of bolstering Portugal’s reputation as a safe place to visit and live.

By MICHAEL BRUXO
michael.bruxo@algarveresident.com

Photos: MICHAEL BRUXO/OPEN MEDIA GROUP