Tourism set to break new records as Algarve hotels and golf courses “do better than 2014”

2015 is well on its way to becoming another “record-breaking year” for Portugal and the Algarve’s tourism sectors.

While the government says it is focused on keeping tourism on a roll, the Algarve’s tourism board (RTA) has revealed the region’s hotels are doing better in 2015 than last year. Even British Prime Minister David Cameron is said to be planning another holiday trip to the Algarve.

RTA’s data shows that Algarve hotels’ revenue increased 3.9% in the first five months of the year compared to the same period in 2014, while bookings remain at similar levels.

This translates into around 4.5 million bookings and €161.2 million in revenue between January and May.

Recent data from the National Statistics Institute (INE) also shows bookings and revenue were up 2.6% and 5.7% in May compared to the same month last year.

Golf rounds have also boomed this year, reaching over 510,000. The number represents a 6.7% increase on last year, according to data sent to the RTA by the Algarve’s Golf Association.

In an official statement, tourism boss Desidério Silva said 2015 looks set to be a “record-breaking year” for the Algarve tourism sector, hoping particularly for a “positive performance” from the Portuguese and Spanish markets.

It is the kind of news that delights economy minister Pires de Lima who said last weekend that the government is committed to investing in tourism and getting tourists “hooked” on Portugal.

Speaking after a conference in Porto, he stressed how tourism has helped Portugal’s “goods and services” sector reach positive levels for “the first time in 70 years”, and how the country has registered four times more tourism revenue than its neighbour and ‘rival’ Spain.

It’s all thanks to Portugal’s “quality companies”, says the minister, which have proved “dynamic” and “able to innovate”.

Guaranteeing the government will continue to invest in tourism, he said: “We have a clear goal – to make Portugal an even more agile and dynamic tourist destination in Europe.”

British PM takes holiday in Algarve
In the wake of all this good news, it is no surprise that British Prime Minister David Cameron and his family are planning yet another summer holiday in the Algarve this year.
British newspapers The Daily Mail and The Express have reported the PM will be visiting the Algarve in August with wife Samantha and the couple’s four children, after having already spent a holiday in the region in 2013.

At the time, he said the Algarve food was “excellent” and was pictured with his wife buying fish in Aljezur market. A year later, he was photographed yet again at another fish market, this time on the family’s summer holiday in Cascais near Lisbon.

British press poked fun at the shots, saying Cameron was not only wearing almost exactly the same summer outfit as the year before, but that his enthusiasm for fish was “inane”.

The British PM’s six-week summer holiday will also include trips to Cornwall and the Scottish island of Jura this year.

By MICHAEL BRUXO [email protected]