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Winners in 2006

By: Caroline Cunha

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SIXTEEN MEDALS are being awarded this year to individuals, authorities and entities for services and contributions to the Algarve tourism industry.

The list of winners was announced on Monday by the Região de Turismo do Algarve (RTA), the Algarve tourism board, at its headquarters in Faro.

At the same event, the RTA president, Hélder Martins, revealed that he did not intend to stand again for president at forthcoming elections and would be leaving in the next few months to pursue private projects.

One of the recipients of an RTA gold tourism medal is André Jordan, instigator of a number of high profile projects. He is the man responsible for creating arguably the Algarve’s best known luxury resort, Quinta do Lago in the early 70s.

Apolónia supermarket in Almancil has long been a favourite with foreign visitors to the Algarve, due to it stocking a wide selection of quality international groceries. This year, the man behind the popular store that opened 23 years ago, Avelino Apolónia is being honoured with a silver medal for dedication to tourism activities.


Also winning a silver medal  is Finnish businessman Arto Olavi Takala. He began a project to build a resort in the interior, in Querença (in the Loulé hills), encompassing a golf course, hotel and holiday accommodation.

Other individuals to be honoured this year include: António Henriques da Silva, president of the Algarve Golf Association and executive director of Lusotor Golfes,SA and Carlos Gonçalves Luís, founder of travel agency Algarve Tours, vehicle rental company, Topcar and vice-president of the Algarve Tourism Association, who both receive gold tourism medals.

Faro’s PSP  receive a silver medal for dedication to tourism activities. Faro and Portimão GNR are also being awarded with the same honour.  Other authorities to receive the silver medal include the 16 bombeiros corps of the Faro district and maritime police.

A gold medal for dedication to tourism activities is awarded to Moto Clube de Faro organisers of the Algarve’s famous motorbike rally.

Portuguese daily tabloid newspaper, Correio da Manhã receives a silver medal for tourism merit this year, for its support of the region’s development and promotion of tourism in the Algarve.

Winning a gold medal for tourism merit are Casinos do Algarve  and the Escola Hoteleraia e Turismo do Algarve, the Algarve hotel and tourism school, for its success in increasing the scope and quantity of training courses available to workers in the tourism industry.

Finally, also winning golf medals  are Faro Airport, for its success in increasing passenger traffic at the airport and for its successful expansion and modernisation, as well as the Sindicato dos Trabalhadores da Indústria de Hotelaria, Turismo, Restaurants e Similares do Algarve, the hotel and tourism workers’ union, which represents the interests and rights of professionals in the sector.


Martins had been speaking of his frustration about the planned re-organisation of tourism authorities by the government, which is currently being discussed in secret by the Council of Ministers. He told the press that he was not being kept fully informed of the likely changes, but judging by what he did know of the proposals, they could have serious economic implications for many regions due to alterations in the way funds are to be allocated, a measure with which he clearly did not agree.

He partly blamed his decision to leave the RTA on the ensuing political fracas, but also said that he had taken the time to review his life and realised there were other things he wanted to do outside of the world of politics. No further comment was made on the matter.

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