The President of the Republic brought a welcome ray of hope to the Algarve when he visited Lagoa on Tuesday. He believes the region is “on the right path” despite facing a long road to recovery from the effects of the pandemic.
“The increase in the tourist occupancy rate from 0% to 30%, 40%, 50% and 60% in just a few weeks generates hope, but it is a slow process which is dependent on the evolution of the pandemic, of economies in Europe and throughout the world, of airlines and of tourism sectors in the coming year,” Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa told reporters on Tuesday (August 4) before a working dinner in Lagoa with the Algarve’s mayors, whom he praised for joining forces and doing everything they can to “win this battle”.
Last month, the President vowed to visit the Algarve every week this summer to help show that the region is a safe destination for travellers and provide a voice to the countless people who have been affected by the pandemic.
His visit to Lagoa this week followed trips to Monte Gordo (Vila Real de Santo António), Lagos, Loulé and Tavira. He is due to return this weekend, this time to visit Silves.
As he explained, “the Algarve is in need of some special attention”.
“In the Algarve, tourism has a fundamental role in the economy, employment, wealth creation and the contribution it makes to the country,” the President said, adding that it is “justified” to visit the region more often than others.
President Marcelo also conceded that the Algarve is too reliant on the tourism sector and said that key projects – such as the construction of a Central Hospital or investments in the water supply and rail transport networks – could help the region develop further.
He also said there should be “specific funding for diversification”, including investments in “research, the university, the digital sector, the sea, agriculture, the link between the industrial and agricultural sectors and new services.”
Still, the Algarve needs tourism to “stay strong and continue to be the backbone of the economy”, President Marcelo said.
He also stressed that the Algarve will receive €600 million from the government next year – double what it would usually receive – in a bid to bolster economic recovery.
A large part of the money will be used to support tourism companies and create mechanisms to maintain as many jobs as possible, the President revealed.