Regional planners want motorhome-friendly Algarve

After the Silves motorhome case reported in the Resident last week, regional planners have stepped into the fray saying it is vital to make camping holidaymakers feel more welcome.
Speaking to Lusa news agency, David Santos, the president of the commission for regional coordination and development (CCDR Algarve), affirms that extra facilities for motorhome campers are now “essential”.
He said a network of infrastructures would “complement” those currently on offer and “continue to bolster the region’s economy and image”.
On average, campers spend €50 a day during what is normally a 42-day stay, he explained.
“Doing the maths, it means they generate over €6 million a year for the region’s economy,” he added, explaining that this economic boost to the Algarve was especially welcome during the low-season – a boom-time for motorhomers’ holidays.
Citing data gathered by his commission, Santos revealed that over 120,000 motorhomers came to the Algarve last year. And so far, the number of this type of tourist registered this year is 15% higher than registered during the same period in 2013.
These statistics, says Santos, are reason enough to begin building a “network of infrastructures”. To this end, he explained that the commission would be working alongside the regional tourism board (RTA), the Algarve Municipalities Association (AMAL), and associations representing the motorhoming community.
Santos also announced that he would soon be meeting with AMAL to discuss some of the ongoing difficulties municipalities like Silves have been experiencing in accommodating motorhomers.
As we reported in our March 14 edition, Silves saw a number of these winter-time tourists kicked-out of river-facing land in February, following complaints by local residents.
Without consulting the local council, GNR police moved bewildered motorhomers on, and they were only allowed back recently, once the council had squared everything with the police.
Now, the campers are being allowed to stay on land between the municipal pool and Fissul building while the council sets up proper facilities and pricing tables.
Poll results
Meantime, our recent poll question shows that a significant number of Resident readers (over 80%) think motorhomers should be paying for the right to pitch up in the Algarve.
Commenting on our poll question on the ‘Algarve Resident’ Facebook page, the consensus is that campers should be restricted to designated areas with appropriate and paid facilities.
The problem is that these are not easily found. According to further data from the CCDR, there are 90 motorhome stops in the Algarve, but only 12 are adequately structured.
Thus the goal is to begin setting up proper facilities throughout the Algarve so that campers will keep returning, and the millions of euros they generate will continue to flow into the local economy. Michael Bruxo