White Night (Noite Branca) celebrations, which last year attracted more than 30,000 visitors to Loulé, have been cancelled by Loulé Câmara due to the financial constraints of the municipality.
In a statement, a spokesman from Loulé Câmara said: “The municipality prefers not to compromise the quality of the event and because of this we have made the decision for it not to go ahead this year.”
Instead of funding an entertainment event such as White Night, due to have been held on August 27, the Câmara said that it intends to instead direct funds toward projects that support the people of the municipality, “particularly the most vulnerable social groups”.
“The decision is based on the need for financial restraint within the municipality and this event is one that involves a large investment and because it is free, it does not generate direct financial returns,” said the spokesman
While Loulé Câmara has declared that the White Night event is not financially beneficial to the Câmara, ACRAL, the Algarve’s retailers association, has stated that they believe the decision to cancel the event is “strange”.
A spokesman from ACRAL said: “ACRAL sees the decision to cancel White Night as being very strange as this is an event that attracts thousands of visitors to Loulé.”
ACRAL believes that the cancellation will have a detrimental effect on local traders: “Each year Loulé traders wait for the arrival of White Night to be able to obtain a substantial economic return and the news of the cancellation for 2011 leaves us very concerned.”
João Rosado, the president of ACRAL, said: “The cancellation is very unfortunate as it brought great financial return to the municipality and in turn to local businesses. We cannot accept this.”
He added: “This decision to penalise business is only aggravated further by the fact that Loulé Câmara has previously approved the opening of an IKEA store, another fact that makes us very apprehensive about the future of traders in Loulé.”
Loulé Câmara has stated that the cancellation is a “one off” and that as soon as the conditions are better the authority will resume the event. D.S.