The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on many businesses, particularly small local shops and restaurants.
With Christmas just around the corner, the festive season is being viewed by smaller businesses as the last opportunity of the year to make up some of the huge losses 2020 brought them.
In the Algarve, local councils have created voucher schemes in a bid to encourage citizens to ‘shop local’ for Christmas.
The concept is simple: for every €10 spent at a local store (in most cases up to a maximum of €100 per purchase), clients are given a coupon which will be entered into a draw.
The holders of the winning coupons will be awarded vouchers worth dozens or hundreds of euros to be used at local stores or restaurants.
So far, variations of this scheme have been implemented in Faro, Lagoa, Lagos, Loulé, Portimão, Tavira and Vila Real de Santo António.
In Faro, the local council has invested €60,000 to carry out five draws until the end of the year. Vouchers to the tune of €30, €50, €100 and €200 will be handed out to the holders of the winning coupons.
Further west in Loulé, the local council will keep the initiative going until March 2021.
Each month, the council will be handing out 10 vouchers worth €150, 20 vouchers worth €100 and 20 vouchers worth €50 to the holders of the lucky coupons, which will be drawn at Loulé’s Palácio Gama Lobo at 11am on January 6, February 5, March 5, and April 5.
Meantime in Lagoa, the local council has announced €102,000 to support the local economy. Instead of investing in Christmas lights, the council will be distributing €52,000 among its unemployed and granting €50,000 to the local voucher scheme.
The value of the vouchers will range between €20 to a whopping €1,500.
“With this decision we are helping those who are unemployed and have seen their income drop, as well as the local population and businesses,” said Lagoa Mayor Luís Encarnação, adding that the goal is to “not leave anyone behind”.
In the neighbouring borough of Portimão, the local council has ploughed €10,000 into its ‘shop local’ campaign, with shoppers in for a chance to win vouchers ranging from €50 to €200.
Lagos, on the other hand, will be handing out 50 vouchers worth €100 in a bid to not only help local businesses but “fill the borough with hope and Christmas values”.
At the opposite end of the Algarve, Tavira Council has teamed up with local association Baixa de Tavira and will be handing out 10 vouchers ranging between €100 and €500, with the prize draw due to take place on January 18.
Last but not least, shoppers in Vila Real de Santo António will be in for a chance to win vouchers worth between €20 and €50.
“At a time of significant difficulties for the economy, the local council had to stand by its citizens and entrepreneurs,” said VRSA Mayor Conceição Cabrita.
Hopes are that these campaigns will encourage more citizens to do their Christmas shopping locally.