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Portimão festivals bring welcome boost to local businesses

Business owners generally happy with impact of Afro Nation and Rolling Loud events

Local businesses in Portimão have celebrated the economic boost provided by the Afro Nation (June 28-30) and Rolling Loud (July 5-7) beach festivals, which attracted thousands of people to the Algarve to see renowned artists such as 50 Cent, Burna Boy, Travis Scott and Meek Mill.

This is the second straight year that both events were held at Praia da Rocha beach, where they will return until 2025, Portimão mayor Isilda Gomes has guaranteed, stressing how the events help “anticipate” the levels of business usually only experienced during the month of August, which is “positive for several sectors of the economy”.

For the Afro Nation and Rolling Loud organisers, the first festival provided “a unique celebration of music, dance, food and culture” that “has quickly gathered global cultural influence”, while the second, which follows Rolling Loud Rotterdam and precedes the inaugural Rolling Loud Germany, is described as Rolling Loud’s “original European festival”, bringing “the best and brightest (performers)” – “it will continue to be a singular festival for years to come”.

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From restaurants and local lodgings to maritime-tourism companies, virtually every business in Portimão saw an increase in customer numbers (and revenue) as a direct result of the two festivals.

The owners of Vasco da Gama restaurant-snack bar, located on the Praia da Rocha bar strip, even had to hire more workers to meet the influx of customers in recent weeks and extend their opening hours “to the limit” (4am).

Madalena and Sérgio Costa said revenue “more than quadrupled”, thanks to the festivals, which was “a great boost for their business” and left them feeling “very positive” about the events.

Like most other businesses in the Algarve, August is the month when their restaurant usually sees revenue increase the most thanks to the massive influx of holidaymakers. However, revenue generated from business during the recent festivals has surpassed the month of August “because the type of customer – especially those attending Afro Nation – does not hesitate to spend (money)”, the restaurant owners told us.

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Wet Bed Gang

Thus, they hope the festivals will continue being held in Portimão, stressing that they not only help the local economy but also bring visibility to the town and the country. As for the potential inconvenience to residents (due to crowds, noise into the early hours, traffic congestion), they believe that it is no different to what already happens in August.

Portimão’s tourist accommodation (Alojamento Local) sector has also welcomed the economic impact of the festivals. Arminda Martins, who owns several properties in Portimão and works with international booking platforms, states that “the impact was very positive”, with her properties recording a 100% occupancy rate.

“Reservations were made well in advance” by clients from various nationalities from America, Asia, and Europe, she told the Resident, emphasising that these events are a “great boost to the economy”, especially the hospitality sector, for which they generate “significant revenue”.

Maritime-tourism companies also see their usual business skyrocket during the festivals and have provided further insight into the different type of holidaymakers that the events attract.

“Afro Nation customers are the best and most respectful,” said André Gonçalves, salesperson at Discover Tours.

Travis Scott
Travis Scott

As the number of customers was “similar to 2022”, Discover Tours was already prepared for the increase in workload, which its three-and-a-half-hour catamaran tours full to capacity, as well as bookings for boats to host private parties.

Most businesses the Resident spoke to described the Rolling Loud customers as generally “younger and rowdier”, “with less money to spend” and “more likely to cause trouble”.

But overall, Portimão business owners reported good returns thanks to the festivals and hope these audiences, despite their differences in behaviour and spending power, will continue to choose the area for their holidays.


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