No support from tourism board

Dear Editor,

I read your article titled ‘Protests set mood for Algarve tourism board’s 45th anniversary celebrations’ (Algarve Resident, March 27 edition).

Your article that reported on the event was a very interesting read and a well-covered article, however its content on the facts made by blood boil.

I am the author of the newly released book ‘Algarve Travel Guide 54 Cities/Towns/Villages’.

Mr Desidério Silva claims in his statement that they have to do more for less in the budget they have been given. He says: “The constant budget cuts and bureaucratic hindrances are greatly reducing our capacity to act and intervene. We have to do much more with less.”

I do wonder who sits on the committees that distribute funds to promote the Algarve. I remember reading a while back that the tourism board paid €67,000 to use the name of a well-known Hawaiian surfer. Did they do any research as to the figures of how many surfers the Algarve attracts? How much more funds are they going to throw at golf in the Algarve?

I spent two years at my own expense travelling the whole of the Algarve in order to write a much-needed travel guide that would help promote the whole of the Algarve. I don’t see the RTA focusing on this type of promotion for tourism; or featuring many of the local fairs and festivals that would attract many tourists visiting the Algarve.

I feel that the RTA needs a real shake up on how it promotes the tourist sector and throwing money at overseas advertising without doing its research is a waste of money if not reaching the target it was intended for. I spent nearly one year in the planning for the Algarve travel guide launch; not for my own self-indulgence for fame but as a marketing tool for the Algarve tourist market.

I had a great response from those in the private sector who could see what I was trying to achieve. One of the large hotels kindly sponsored us the venue along with one of the Algarve award-winning wines sponsored wine for up to 100 guests.

I had spoken to the Associação Turismo do Algarve (ATA) who had confirmed by email the presence of Executive Director, Ms. Dora Coelho and/or the President, Mr. Carlos Luis. I personally sent out 64 email invitations as well as postal invitations addressed personally to each Câmara and Junta de Freguesia president: this also included Mr Desidério Silva and his secretary.

The release of such a large travel guide attracted huge media attention.

So why when it came to the launch, we had many VIPs yet not one single person showed from the RTA or ATA, even the confirmed Executive Director, Ms. Dora Coelho and/or the President, Mr. Carlos Luis? Not one single person wrote to apologise for not attending or even showing up after confirming their attendance; this was seen to me to be a public slap in the face.

The launch was on February 9 and the news article aired on the national news after the launch so I hope they saw it as a missed opportunity to be seen supporting foreigners who are trying to help promote the Algarve.

Karl Bradshaw-White, by email