Winter “close down” must stop

Tourist establishments in the Algarve must not close down during the winter if the goal is to combat the problem of seasonality, say tourism leaders.

Luís Veiga, the president of the Portuguese Hoteliers Association (AHP) said: “Three hundred tourist businesses closed down last winter in the Algarve alone, which is more than double compared to the previous year.”

He also urged the implementation of the plan by the national tourism board to raise the number of Algarve overnight stays in the winter by about 100,000, targeting mainly the German, Scandinavian, Irish and Polish markets.

“The Algarve cannot appear desolate if we want to attract an additional 100,000 overnight stays in the winter,” he added.

The president of the association of Algarve hotels and resorts (AHETA), Elidérico Viegas, said that trying to bring tourists to the region in April, May and June, which he called the “lateral months to summer”, is a way of softening the negative effects of seasonality.

Desidério Silva, president of the Algarve tourism board, said that the expectations for the winter are positive and that they hope confidence can be re-established. He added that he is working with local operators in order to strengthen the existing air flight routes during the less popular seasons.