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Race track an export growth engine for Algarve, says mayor

By INÊS LOPES [email protected]

Portimão mayor Manuel da Luz says the Algarve race track is an important project to combat the problem of seasonality in the Algarve and its image needs to be preserved.

Following last week’s news that debt-ridden Parkalgar, owner of the race track, had initiated a Special Revitalisation Procedure (PER) to save the company from insolvency (see last week’s edition of the Algarve Resident), Portimão’s mayor said that continuation of the project must be secured as it represents an important economic aid not only for the municipality but for the Algarve.

“The business it generates and the market it attracts are vital for the region’s economy and tourism industry,” he said.

“It is unquestionable that the Algarve International Autodrome (AIA) has contributed to increase the good reputation of the Portimão municipality as a tourist destination.”

Since its construction in 2008, the circuit has hosted more than 30 major international competitions, which the mayor says have had an “annual economic impact of over €10 million, generating media revenue to the tune of more than €10.6 million annually.”

Manuel da Luz says the race track is, “quite likely”, the only project that generates revenue in the low season, citing as examples events held in partnership with the venue such as the unveiling of the BMW 3 series this winter, the Goodyear tyres in May or, in 2011, the launch of the McLaren MP4-12C and the Jaguar XK-RS.

These events, he says, leave their mark in the region and contribute to the international image of the AIA, which is “already rated highly”.

When asked if he believed the PER could secure the future of Parkalgar, Manuel da Luz said anything to help the company and its project achieve a more stable financial position should always be in the interests of the city and the region.

“The race track is one of the Algarve’s main export generators,” he said, adding that employment would also be created once the “tourist complex” on the site is completed.

He concluded by saying that Portimão Câmara would continue promoting the project in the council, “albeit with limitations due to the current economic context”.