By: NATASHA SMITH
IN AN attempt to promote inland tourism and deter residents from moving towards the coast, Castro Marim Câmara has approved a project to construct a six star resort and has proposed to suspend IRS taxes for residents.
The Herdade de Corte Velho resort will be constructed near Azinhal and has a total investment of around 200 million euros, the majority of which has come from international backers.
The resort is planned for construction in an area that has been designated by the câmara for tourism development.
A câmara spokesperson told The Resident: “We have developed a plan for the area and this resort is part of that. The câmara has been trying to combat people moving away from the area and this is part of the overall plan to revitalise Castro Marim.”
This resort will create 5,678 jobs, both directly and indirectly, and will create 2,100 bed spaces. The resort will cover 135 hectares of land next to the Guadiana River and will feature an 18-hole golf course, golf club, hotel, apartments and villas.
“We must be careful how the space designated for tourism is used. It must respect the environment and minimise damage”, said the spokesperson.
“There was a great need to guarantee sustained development in the area but also to offer something unique, which is what the câmara is striving to achieve.”
As part of the wider development plan for the area, there will be focus on urban expansion, economic activities and rural expansion.
The câmara has promised that the uniqueness and identity of Azinhal will be maintained, even though a new road is due to be constructed to link the resorts that are due to be constructed.
Azinhal also is the focus of a plan to create a network of different sectors including education, sport, health, culture and leisure, while Castro Marim as a whole will undergo work to improve the drainage systems and water supplies.
The câmara spokesperson said: “If we are planning to bring people back to the area, we must be able to provide the adequate provisions, which include water supplies and drainage. We also must be able to know that the system will be able to cope with increased usage during the summer months.”
In light of a law that was passed last year to protect councils in inland areas that struggle from their residents moving away (no. 2, article 20 of the Law no. 2/2007), Castro Marim has proposed to apply a zero per cent IRS tax rate on people officially residing within the council area.
The Lei das Finanças allows for exceptional measures to be implemented to protect councils affected by a rapidly declining population and Castro Marim Câmara has said that this tax relief would ease the burden faced by many of its residents.
If approved, residents will not be obliged to pay any IRS tax for the whole of 2008 and a decision is expected soon.
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