With its 30th anniversary just around the corner, Lagos Marina has emerged from the Covid-19 pandemic stronger than ever and with a new major project up its sleeve.
Inaugurated in 1994, Lagos Marina quickly became one of the town’s main assets. Ushering in a new wave of nautical tourism, the 462-berth marina helped Lagos grow into one of the Western Algarve’s main destinations.
Martinho Fortunato, the marina’s director, spoke with the Resident this week about how the marina was able to navigate the Covid-19 pandemic and emerge from it even stronger.
“The Marina of Lagos was affected differently in various aspects of its operation. The hospitality and commercial components (shops) faced significant challenges and went through periods of complete shutdown,” the director told us.
“Nevertheless, we managed to overcome this phase and ensure that all partner businesses remained operational after the pandemic. The marina itself (boats) remained active throughout, although with long periods without vessel entry and exit due to imposed restrictions. Throughout the pandemic, there were clients residing on the vessels, which required us to keep teams working to provide necessary assistance and maintenance,” Fortunato explained.
Despite the struggles posed by the pandemic, the marina persevered and maintained its status as an unmissable local landmark.
“The marina, thanks to its fantastic location in the town centre and on the route of most maritime connections, boasts consistently high annual occupancy rates and a significant number of visitors from approximately 40 different nationalities,” he added.
One of the most important aspects of the marina is how it helps Lagos stay busy during the so-called tourism ‘low season’, given that October and November stand out as its busiest months of the whole year.
Martinho Fortunato chalked this up to two main reasons: “ Lagos’s attractiveness for off-season stays (from September to June), and the fact that many vessels travel to Lagos during the summer to cross the Atlantic at the most favourable time of the year (in November).”
While the marina may have secured its place in the Algarvian sun, its administration refuses to become “complacent.
“We always strive to keep the infrastructure updated and, whenever possible, innovate and improve. Some recent examples include the new events pontoon along Avenida dos Descobrimentos, created to enhance the marina’s connection to the city and showcase the impact of nautical events on the city,” said the director, who also mentioned the new BioHuts installed on the pontoons this year, with the “aim of increasing biodiversity in the marina,” essentially serving as small fish nurseries.
“We work with a team from the University of Algarve (CCMar) to monitor the results of this installation over time. Substantial investments have also been made in solar panels for hot water production,” he said, citing “environmental sustainability” as essential to the marina.
The next big project will be the expansion of the marina to the fishing port, which will result in a “complete revamp of the area.
“A new marina with 100 berths will be built, along with a dry stack for 100 boats, a Yacht Club with commercial and leisure areas, and an event square. This is a project we have been developing for more than fifteen years and is finally coming to fruition,” Fortunato added.