Luís Araújo, president of the national tourism board Turismo de Portugal, said last week that the future of the 365 Algarve programme is “still uncertain”.
The programme was created in 2016 in a bid to boost the region’s cultural scene during the so-called low season – between October and May.
It aims to show holidaymakers and residents that the Algarve hosts cultural events all year round – hence the reference to “365” in its name.
But while local and central government officials have often sung the praises of the programme, Araújo said that it is uncertain if it will be returning for a fifth edition next October.
Speaking at the eighth congress of the Portuguese association of companies, congresses, tourist entertainment and events (APECATE) which was held in Faro last Friday (February 7), he said that the focus for now is on bringing this edition to a successful close.
“We are currently collecting information, evaluating how it went and if it fulfilled its goals to then present the results to the Secretary of State so that a decision can be made,” he told reporters.
Araújo also answered many other questions about the Algarve, such as whether the UK finally departing from the EU will have a substantial impact on the region.
“The Algarve has been working hard towards diversifying its visitors and attracting holidaymakers from new markets such as Canada and the USA,” he said, adding that the region is also receiving more and more European visitors.
“Cycling, walking and wine tourism are niches that have started experiencing some movement. The Algarve is implementing the right measures and we are all paying attention. Obviously, we will have to pay special attention to Brexit, given the importance that this market represents for the Algarve,” he said.
Araújo added: “In the last year, we have already worked to mitigate the obstacles that may arise, such as creating the Portugal Health Passport, specific campaigns such as #Brelcome and even investing in very concrete segments such as weddings, for which the Algarve has unique conditions.”
The Turismo de Portugal boss also said he is optimistic that there is still room to continue growing in 2020.
“Despite the Thomas Cook collapse and a whole series of constraints, we grew substantially in 2019. It was all a result of our attempt to diversify markets, attract new air links and show that the whole country is a good place to visit all year round,” he said.
Original article written by Maria Simiris for Barlavento newspaper.
Photo: MARIA SIMIRIS/OPEN MEDIA GROUP