The Algarve’s tourism board (RTA) has launched a new project entitled ‘Algarve Craft & Food’ which aims to promote traditional crafts and cuisine as assets to attract more holidaymakers.
The goal is to “create and promote unique and sustainable tourism experiences, especially in areas with a smaller influx of holidaymakers, such as rural and inland areas”.
Hopes are that it will also help “preserve and revitalise local customs and traditions whilst also increasing the sources of income of local craftsmen and food producers”.
RTA says that a series of activities will be created to promote the region in national and international markets while also supporting local craftsmen and producers so that they can invest in “innovation and products with tourist potential”.
This will include organising workshops for craftsmen, designers, producers and chefs, seminars about how to expand abroad, developing new products and tourist programmes and much more.
Algarve tourism chief João Fernandes believes the project will bolster the tourism sector by promoting inland areas and by “diversifying” what the region has to offer, helping reduce seasonality and attracting visitors from new markets.
“This project is also especially important because it puts the Algarve at the forefront of tourism trends such as those connected with the ‘slow made’ and ‘slow food’ movements. It promotes a kind of tourism that allows visitors to experience the local life, community, flavours and knowledge,” he said.
João Amaro from the Tertúlia Algarvia restaurant in Faro, one of the project’s partners, said that ‘Algarve Craft & Food’ is a first step towards a “fruitful relationship” between the arts and agrofood sectors which will now be linked to the tourism sector.
While he acknowledges that there is still a long road ahead when it comes to helping local craftsmen and producers expand their activities, Amaro believes that the “quality and diversity of our products, along with the image of sustainability and respect for ecological values and traditions, will allow the region’s tourism products to compete on a global scale”.
“This is the authentic Algarve that we want and which will be promoted internationally,” he said.
Sara Fernandes from QRER, a group of entities dedicated to developing low density territories and another of the project’s main partners, believes that there is a lot of good to come from “combining local culture and traditions with quality tourism”.
She added that it is also a “strategic way of enhancing our intangible heritage which needs new mechanisms to ensure a sustainable future”.