Portimão’s new Hospitality and Tourism School will be moved from its current building in Pedra Mourinha to its new facilities in the centre of town in September 2022 – “in time for the start of the next school year,” the local council has announced.
The school will be located in the town’s old prison, near the municipal football stadium, and will boast “state-of-the-art” facilities and equipment. To welcome the school, the building is undergoing renovations to the tune of around €2.3 million.
National tourism boss Luís Araújo (president of Turismo de Portugal) and Secretary of State for Tourism Rita Marques visited the site on Wednesday morning to see the work. September 27, 2022 has been set as the date for the official inauguration of the school.
“This is another dream come true, as this project dates back several years,” said Portimão Mayor Isilda Gomes, reelected for her third and final term last Sunday.
“The future school, located in a noble area of town, represents an extremely important step. If we want to have excellence in tourism, we need to have professionals,” the mayor said.
“The more we invest in professional qualification, the better our competitiveness in terms of tourism destination.”
Meanwhile, the secretary of state applauded the renovation of a building that has been abandoned for years with “no practical use” – which was the case of the old prison.
Rita Marques also set a high bar for the region, revealing it is her “goal” to have the Algarve considered the “best destination in the world for training tourism professionals”.
“We must continue working hard during these difficult times. It is important to have every line of financing available, if tourism is to become an even better engine for economic growth. We need to regenerate the sector and help it recover to the levels it boasted in 2019,” the secretary of state said.
Luís Araújo also focused on the importance of having trained professionals in the sector.
“We cannot provide good training if we do not have the equipment, and this infrastructure will be innovative, of the highest quality, not only for the students of Portimão but also for those from abroad, as we should be an example when it comes to welcoming people from other countries,” he said.
The Portimão Hospitality and Tourism School currently has 163 students, most from the Western Algarve and Lower Alentejo. However, there are also students from Brazil, Cape Verde, Ukraine, Moldova and Romania.
The new school is expected to offer the following courses: Restaurant and Bar Service, Kitchen and Pastry Service, Food and Beverage Management, and Kitchen Management and Production.
The building will feature eight classrooms equipped with “the latest technology”, two kitchens with “state-of-the-art equipment”, an auditorium with a capacity for 140 people and a space with individual kitchens, as well as a training bar and restaurant.
By MICHAEL BRUXO