Striving for a sustainable Algarve

By: Natasha Smith

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A MISSION to reach a better understanding of the market and the community seems to be what is most needed in the Algarve at the moment.

This is what Fernando Cardoso de Sousa and his team at GAIM, a marketing and research institute, are endeavouring to achieve.

They believe that large scale construction projects, environmental degradation and a lack of social integration could spell the end of the region’s financial sustainability and appeal for tourists.

De Sousa became the director of GAIM, a non-profit organisation, after years of being a university professor.

He graduated in social psychology, which, hen says, has allowed him to do market research with a heart – instead of revealing statistics, he discusses the habits and needs of consumers.

Students and professors from INUAF, the local university, collaborate on the projects and studies at GAIM and have developed communication plans for small businesses and analyses human resources.

In-depth studies

They have worked hard to produce in-depth studies, looking at every aspect including cultural, historical and political indicators. Currently, their field of expertise is in marketing and have completed studies commissioned by Albufeira and Loulé Câmaras to assess consumer demand and habits.

They also assessed the productivity of municipal workers under the influence of alcohol. There are currently researching another study, Drug Addiction and Criminality: Studying people’s perceptions.

This has involved speaking to inmates at Faro Prison, the police and staff in the judicial system to ascertain at what point an addict turns to crime.

De Sousa is due to begin assessing people’s perceptions of the state and bureaucracy in the Algarve and in Portugal. From the studies, the GAIM team can offer practical solutions to problems.

The organisation has recently published the results of a detailed study entitled Almancil and the New Business Opportunities, which was financed by the Almancil Business Association (AEA) and Loulé Câmara printed it.

As the organisation is not state funded, a translation of the report into English or other languages could only be possible if it was privately funded.


The study revealed that with a population of around 14,000, Almancil has become a city. Unfortunately, there has not been enough planning and some of the facilities are unable to cope with demand.

Ill feeling and unemployment have contributed to increases in crime rates. The study posits that residents have an obligation to look after the marginal members of society.

The main issues for the Algarve are creating a balance between property development and the environment. Planning is essential and social integration is vital for sustaining business and development.

De Sousa said, “the Algarve community needs to act soon to ensure a stable and safe future, with the ability to preserve our greatest natural treasure, the environment”.

For more information about GAIM, email [email protected] or call 289 420 470.

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