By ELOISE WALTON [email protected]
Many hotels and tourist developments across the region have decided to close their doors this winter, despite predictions that the New Year’s celebrations will attract more visitors than last year.
Areas most affected by these closures are Albufeira, Vilamoura, Portimão and Alvor, as hotels aim to cut costs over the winter months.
Meanwhile, hotels which have opted to remain open were due to have high levels of occupation, with some almost fully booked for the New Year’s Eve celebrations.
Partrícia Reimão, a spokeswoman for the Pestana group told Portuguese news agency LUSA that in the Algarve the occupancy levels were high and across Portugal they were generally higher than last year.
“The Pestana hotels in Madeira are completely full and in the Algarve, reservations are also high but there are still some rooms available,” she said. “The Algarve tends to receive more last minute reservations.”
A spokesman from the Le Meridien Penina Golf and Resort told the Algarve Resident: “In our experience, the New Year is a peak time for reservations, although the Portuguese always book at the very last minute.”
This year, however, the spokesman added that the bad weather could be a negative factor in the number of hotel reservations, with the majority of clients being British and Portuguese nationals.
Another hotel employee, who wished not to be named, said that the continuous rain and bad weather was affecting the general mood of clients.
“They can’t go outside and no one is around in the streets. It’s depressing,” said the employee.
Alexandra Soleiro, a spokeswoman from the Tivoli hotels group, said that reservations for the festive season were “similar to last year,” with hotels being up to 70 per cent full.
A spokesman from the Hotel Garbe in Armação de Pêra told the Algarve Resident that the hotel does not close during the winter months and has activities to keep new and regular clients entertained.
“We are having a big New Year’s Eve party and on January 1, from 11am we are hosting Swim for Shoes on the beach opposite the hotel, where guests and residents go for a New Year paddle to raise funds that go towards buying new shoes for 10 to 18 year olds who live at the A Gaivota children’s home,” said the spokesman.
Elidérico Viegas, President of the association for hotels and tourist developments of the Algarve (AHETA), said that the number of people wanting to stay in hotels this New Year’s was due to be higher than last year, especially with the Portuguese, as there is not as much money to go abroad at the moment.
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