FOLLOWING RECENT reports that summer reinforcements for the Algarve’s police force will be cut this year (see last week’s issue of The Resident), the Associação dos Hotéis e Empreendimentos Turísticos do Algarve (AHETA), the association for Algarve hotels and resorts, has demonstrated its outrage, making a public statement to record its extreme disagreement with the decision.
According to AHETA, security these days is the main deciding factor for tourists when choosing a holiday destination; therefore, a decision like the one for the Algarve can only have a negative impact on the region’s tourism industry.
Over recent years, successive governments have reinforced the number of police agents patrolling the Algarve’s streets during the high season, a situation that has proved the most efficient in reducing the level of crime affecting tourists. For this reason, AHETA has been calling, for some years already, for the need to enlarge the reinforcement period from April through to October.
As this is a sensitive issue, which could prove decisive for the future of the Algarve’s tourism industry, AHETA, in conjunction with international tour operators, has gathered evidence of the crime situation in the region and presented the relevant authorities with concrete proposals on the matter.
AHETA is part of a working group, created within the Ministry for Internal Affairs, which puts together security plans designed to be implemented in touristic areas, namely in the Algarve. For this reason, AHETA was particularly surprised that it was not informed by the official channels that police numbers in the Algarve could be reduced.
The association believes the decision is totally contradictory, as the government recently debated publicly the economic importance of the tourism activities in the Algarve, a fact widely backed up. AHETA is calling upon the Prime Minister, the Minister for Internal Affairs and those in power linked to the issue to resolve this urgent problem.