Hoteliers in the Algarve are once again urging the Portuguese government to provide grants – funds they will not have to pay back – in order to “save the Algarve’s tourism sector and avoid an economic and social catastrophe”.
The plea has come from the Algarve hoteliers’ association (AHETA), which explains how the crisis caused by the pandemic has left the region’s tourism companies at the edge of an “unprecedented economic precipice”.
As it explains, “unemployment has reached unthinkable and unseen levels”.
If nothing is done, the association believes that the future of the Algarve’s tourism sector – “one of the most strategic and important of the Portuguese economy,” the association says – will be at stake.
According to AHETA, “our companies have to be prepared to respond quickly and effectively to the enormous challenges of a complex, difficult and obviously very competitive future”.
But without government support, most hotels will not be able to keep their staff employed, continue developing marketing strategies and essentially maintain the “whole circuit that involves the tourism business.”
“Our assets must be preserved at any cost, and should not be and cannot be ignored as they are essential to facing the future with success,” says the association.
The hoteliers believe that companies must take their future into their own hands to maintain the “know how” they have obtained over the course of decades. But yet again, this will depend on whether the government accepts the “responsibility” of supporting these companies.
Says AHETA, the government grants should turn “debt into capital” and help strengthen the cash flow of regional hotel and tourism companies.
Many companies have been driven to the brink as they rely on “outside capital or other financing solutions” and now do not have the revenue to fulfill their commitments.
This puts the survival of many companies at stake as well as their ability to recover and face a post-Covid future.
As the association points out, “fragile companies are not competitive.”
On a closing note, the association stresses: “The Algarve, the country and the world were shaken by a distressing and unprecedented crisis. To not be prepared to face the challenges of the recovery means extending the disastrous consequences that we experiencing for years and years on end,” said the association.