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Study shows pessimistic outlook for tourism

By PAULO SILVESTRE [email protected]

Tourism activity in the Algarve was better last summer than the previous year but the forecast for 2011 is not so optimistic, says a study by the Algarve Tourism Board (ERTA) based on the opinion of a group of 57 sector experts.

The majority of the respondents (40.4%) to the sixth Algarve Tourism Barometer considered that the summer of 2010 was better in the Algarve than the same period the previous year.

For Portugal, 33.3% of the respondents said that the country had similar results to the summer of 2009, while 28.1% said it was better and 26.3% worse.

The respondents were generally pessimistic about tourist activity for 2011 and 40.4% predicted that it will be worse in Portugal and 42.1% foresee a worse year for tourism in the Algarve.

However, a significant proportion of the respondents believed that 2011 would be on a par with 2010 – 33.3% for Portugal and 38.6% for the Algarve.

In terms of tourists visiting the region, the German market was considered the main one by 42.1% of the respondents. In their opinion, this market is expected to grow in 2011.

Regarding the Portuguese, Dutch and Spanish markets, the majority of respondents predicted stagnation in 2011. Some 59.6% of the respondents predicted a decrease in the British markets and 87.7% thought a decline in Irish tourists visiting the region was likely.

Considering the various offers available for visitors, only nautical tourism was regarded by most of the respondents as the one that had achieved positive results in 2010.

For golf, residential tourism and business tourism, the majority of respondents said that the performance in 2010 was negative in comparison with 2009.

Some 16% believe that the implementation of tolls on the A22/Via do Infante will have no negative influence on the Spanish market visiting the Algarve, while 84% of the respondents considered that tolls will have a negative or very negative impact on the Spanish market.

In response to problems such as the decision by TUI and Thomas Cook to cancel their operations to the Algarve in the 2011 winter season, the option that was most voted for by the respondents was to increase marketing campaigns abroad.

Focus on the domestic tourism market and the creation of a central reservations office by ERTA had very similar results, 45.6% and 43.9% respectively.