André Jordan – the man known as one of the driving forces behind the development of luxury golf resort tourism in Portugal – believes the country is the tourism destination with the “best price-quality ratio” in the world.
Jordan also says now is the time for the tourism sector to leave the “doubts and hesitations” created by the pandemic behind and “move forward”.
The statements came during an interview with Expresso newspaper after the 88-year-old entrepreneur received the Career Award (Prémio Carreira) at the Prémio Nacional de Turismo 2021, which recognises the best companies, practices, and tourism projects in Portugal.
Jordan started carving his name into Portugal’s tourism ‘Hall of Fame’ 50 years ago with the inauguration of the first phase of Quinta do Lago resort in Algarve.
Said the tourism expert, he got the idea for the resort within the first 30 minutes of seeing the land for the first time.
“At that time, I thought about a small project, with a golf course and 150 villas and apartments, but today I confess that Quinta do Lago is much more than I ever dreamed of. For someone who arrived here 50 years ago, it is amazing to see the development of the country,” he said.
“I have no doubts stating today that, in terms of tourism, Portugal has the best quality-price ratio in the world,” Jordan added.
Despite his long career in the tourism sector, the experienced entrepreneur says he never stops thinking about ways to improve it.
“The Portuguese people have a very strong capacity to adapt to new ideas and methods and that was visible during the pandemic. Now, we are on the edge of a new era and Portugal must abandon its doubts and hesitations and move on.
“There is still prejudice about this sector, but the truth is, tourism does not take away value or compete with other areas of business. On the contrary, it helps develop and can be a motor for various industries in the country. Directly or indirectly, they are all supported by tourism,” added Jordan.
He also addressed the sector’s lack of human resources, suggesting that the issue can be resolved by making the sector “more profitable”.
“(Otherwise) it will not be possible to recover and attract new workers, including those who left the country seeking better opportunities,” he said.
It is also time for the tourism sector to “establish itself as fundament to the development of the economy”.
“Our tourism has to be selective and guided towards quality. I don’t mean the quality of infrastructure because our hotels are great, but boosting and valuing the extraordinary and unique characteristics of the country and Portuguese people.
“More than welcoming millions of visitors, we have to have revenue-generating tourists. We have to change this idea that tourism is a form of charity from rich countries and that Portugal is a cheap destination,” said Jordan.
The businessman concluded that another factor that should be considered is sustainability.
“Environmental matters are finally part of the tourism lexicon and are fundamental to development,” he said.
Jordan also hopes that the newly-elected majority PS government will help the stability of the country and the development “not only of tourism but of the whole country”.
By MICHAEL BRUXO