Year review

JANUARY

Bad weather across the region

High winds, heavy rainfall and plummeting temperatures marked the start of 2010, bad weather that was set to continue for the coming months.

Storms at the end of 2009 left a trail of destruction (see the Algarve Resident edition January 1, 2010) with trees falling onto properties and huge sea swells all along the coast.

The north of the country fared no better with 20,000 children being unable to reach their schools due to snow blocked roads for a week during January.

Crime response

Residents across the region came together in January to respond to rising crime levels, while the mayors of most of the councils in the Algarve also called on the government for help.

Results of demands by local forces led to GPS systems being given to the GNR in the Algarve and a new project to tackle serious crime was also launched by the minister of Internal Affairs, Rui Pereira, on January 23.

Meanwhile, the residents of Vale Telheiro and Poço Geraldo areas of Loulé worked with security forces to create maps of isolated areas complete with GPS coordinates to improve police responses.

FEBRUARY

Festivities, floats and fancy dress

Towns and cities across the Algarve came alive with colour after a long and grey winter with the arrival of carnival.

Between February 12 and 16 the streets were filled with music and dancing with thousands of visitors gathering in Loulé to watch the hundreds of participants in one of the largest parades of the region.

Poor weather was not enough to dampen the party spirit as the very brave left nothing to the imagination with their costumes!

Motor home controversy

Motor homers were the focus of debate in February after a report revealed that illegal camping was costing the Algarve region a possible €8 million each year.

While officials for the national camping and campsite association said that the problem was down to poor inspection levels by individual Câmaras, motor homers complained that there simply were not enough sites to accommodate the large number of vehicles visiting the region each year.

According to the statistics by the CCDR, more than 37,200 caravans enter the region every year with 80 percent of visitors being of foreign nationality.

MARCH

SBK thrills and spills

More than 77,000 spectators visited the Algarve Motor Park with the final race taking place on March 28 and Italian rider Max Biaggi taking the top spot on the podium.

After the main event all eyes were firmly focused on the home team of Parkalgar Honda and hopes were high with Eugene Laverty started in pole position.

However, the home crowd were left disappointed as Laverty crashed out of the race on lap four and was unable to regain his position.

Laverty has since left the team and has been replaced by Sam Lowes, who joined local rider Miguel Praia and made his debut in October 2010.

Ryanair base

Low cost Irish airline Ryanair opened its new base at Faro airport on March 25 and was hailed as a “turning point” for the tourism industry in the Algarve.

The arrival of the airline base in Faro meant that 31 new routes across Europe became available to passengers in the Algarve, while 1,700 new direct and indirect jobs were created.

Secretary of State for Tourism, Bernado Trindade said: “This is a boost for tourism in the Algarve and will mark a turning point for the region.”

APRIL

Ash cloud chaos

It was the volcano that nobody could pronounce but everybody knew all about. 

When the Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted in Iceland much of northern European airspace was shut down between April 15 and 23 as an ash cloud developed and prevented air travel leading to mass chaos that impacted as far south as here in the Algarve.

Passengers were left stranded as tales of taxi fares between the UK and Portugal emerged. As normality resumed, the sheer backlog of passengers who had been unable to return to their home countries meant that the ongoing impact of the ash cloud continued for weeks after.

Airlines were left with huge losses, compounding an already difficult year for the tourism industry.

New Rotary

Paul Lantau, Theo de Jager and David Trubshaw announced the formation of a new International Rotary Club for the west of the Algarve in April.

The club would later go on to be known as the Porches International Rotary Club and would be based at the Vila Vita Parc in Porches.

The importance of a club in the west was stressed as being an opportunity to involve professional and business men and women in the west of the region who could not spare the time to travel 100 to 120 kilometres to either of the existing clubs in the east of the Algarve.

MAY

Sand art festival

More than 35,000 tonnes of sand was used to create the eighth Fiesa international sand sculpture festival which opened in Pêra on May 22.

Artists from across the globe came to the park to build sculptures based on the theme of the living world which included examples of fish, seahorses, sharks, badgers, apes, pandas and humans.

Thousands of visitors went to the park throughout the summer period with the exhibition of open air art remaining open to the public for an extra month this year and only closing on October 22.

Local heroes

Players from the Portimão-based football club, Portimonense, ended 20 years of hurt when they were finally promoted into the top tier of Portuguese football in May.

Crowds greeted the team, who had beaten promotion rivals Oliveirense by 1-0, when they returned to Portimão at 3am after the match.

Since their promotion the Portimonense ground has been almost demolished to build a new and improved stand to reflect their Liga Sagres standings, and while the team and fans wait for the stadium to open, games have been played at the Algarve Stadium.

JUNE

World Cup football fever

It was the tournament that never was for many as England struggled through the group stages behind the USA, only to be knocked out by their old footballing foe Germany.

Meanwhile, Portugal found themselves in the group of death and were also swiftly eliminated by Spain, who went on to win the competition.

There were highlights though and the historical 7-0 win over North Korea will forever live in the memory of all Portugal fans who gathered in public parks and squares to watch the games.

Jail sentence

Two Brazilian men were sentenced to 14 and-a-half years in prison after being found guilty of the manslaughter of Irishman Paul Houston.

The family of Paul Houston, who died after he was attacked in Alvor on September 6 2009, welcomed the jail sentences which were passed on June 7 by Judge Alda Casimiro during a session in Portimão court.

In a statement outside the court the family thanked the Portuguese police and the judicial system for their professionalism, respect and compassion.

JULY

Clive Jewell appointed as new British Consul

Algarve resident Clive Jewell was named as the new British Consul to the Algarve.

Clive Jewell has worked in the travel and tour operating industry for more than 30 years and has an extensive overseas background after living and working in Spain, Greece, Italy and Portugal.

As the British Consul in Portimão, Clive is responsible for providing consular services to British nationals in the Algarve and leading the consular team which helped over 7,000 British citizens during 2009.

Clive Jewell replaced Paul Rodwell, who moved to Spain to head up the British Consulate in Alicante after working in the Algarve since September 2008.

Hot summer

The summer of 2010 was the hottest in Portugal on record since 1880, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Throughout large parts of Portugal temperatures regularly topped 42ºC, particularly in the Alentejo and Ribatejo regions.

The climate and meteorological administration’s results also showed that from January to June 2010, average temperatures beat the previous record registered in 1998.

In the Algarve, the average temperature registered in July was 29 degrees, putting the region on yellow alert, with strong winds causing unusual sea conditions.

AUGUST

Packed Allgarve

Visitors and residents across the Algarve were able to take advantage of a packed programme of events in August as part of the Allgarve schedule.

The most popular annual event in the region, the Silves Medieval Fair, took over the entire historical city, enabling thousands of visitors to step back in time.

For sporting fans, the Race of Champions at the Algarve Motor Park saw drivers racing head to head for the title of the Champion of Champions.

International artists Colbie Caillat, Anastacia and Jamie Cullum took to the stage during the month.

For those looking for something a little different, the street performances, art and music that make up the White Night in Loulé turned the city into a vision of white and glamour on August 28.

Grand Champions

Thomas Enqvist defeated Thomas Muster in the final of the Vale de Lobo Grand Champions Senior Tour.

The Swedish Davis Cup captain had previously overcome Algarve title holder Greg Rusedski, who finished fourth after losing to Goran Ivanisevic.

The 10th anniversary edition of the popular summer highlight enjoyed a great number of spectators and also attracted worldwide TV coverage, lifting the region’s global image significantly. 

SEPTEMBER

Motorists face tolls on A22

News broke that tolls are to be introduced on April 15, 2011 on four more Portuguese toll-free motorways or SCUTS, including the Via do Infante in the Algarve.

However, a regime of “positive discrimination” will remain in force for some residents and businesses near the roads, who need to use it for work reasons, through toll exemptions until June 2012.

The President of the region´s hotel and tourism association (AHETA) Elidérico Viegas called it “irresponsibility on all levels” which “shows a complete lack of knowledge as to the economic and social realities in the region”.

The President of Algarve Tourism, Nuno Aires, criticised the introduction of tolls on the Via do Infante as “not positive for the region” because it was a “fundamental highway for locals and tourists in the region and for the companies that worked in the tourism industry”.

Tourism saved

Occupancy data from the region´s hotel and tourism association (AHETA) confirmed the beliefs of tourism chiefs that the summer of 2010 has been a good one for the Algarve in terms of occupancy in the tourism sector.

Data released showed that levels in the region have risen by 2.2% during August 2010 in comparison with the same period in 2009, with the overall average occupancy level being 92.5% in the Algarve during August 2010.

There was an increase of 2.1% in the number of Portuguese visitors, while the number of Spanish tourists rose by 28.3%. 

OCTOBER

Australian golfer wins Masters

Unheralded Australian Richard Green came from nowhere to snatch the 500,000 euro first prize at the 4th Portugal Masters in Vilamoura.

The 39-year-old world number 110 left the opposition struggling as he produced a final round of 65 to surge from joint 15th to first on the final day, completing an 18 under par 270 shot total for the tournament.

Sweden’s Robert Karlsson (67), Dutchman Joost Luiten (69) and Spaniard Gonzalo Fernandez Castano (68) as well as the lowest scoring player on the closing day, Ryder Cup team member Francesco Molinari on 62, were left to share second place two shots adrift on 272.

Green, who finished second at the Penha Longa Portuguese Open earlier this year, became the oldest winner of the Masters over its four-year existence.

BLiP success

More than 6,000 visitors attended afpop’s 2010 Better Living in Portugal Exhibition (BLiP) with organisers hailing the event a success that fulfilled its aim of appealing to as many residents and visitors to the Algarve as possible.

The visitors were able to enjoy a huge variety of stands at the show, from picking up delicious homemade chocolates, breads and pies to learning about financial services or even receiving beauty and health treatments.

NOVEMBER

New Honorary Consul

Faro-based lawyer Miguel Sengo da Costa was appointed new British Honorary Consul.

In an exclusive interview with the Algarve Resident, Dr Miguel Sengo da Costa spoke of his new role, goals and his connections with the British community.

The new Honorary British Consul, who will be operating from his office in Faro, said: “The honour and prestige associated with the position, allied with the knowledge I have of the region and how the various public bodies operate, were also a decisive factor in applying for the position.”

As the new British Honorary Consul, Dr Sengo da Costa said he will be available to support the British Consulate in Portimão in assisting British nationals in exceptional circumstances such as the loss or theft of personal documents, arrest, illness or accidents, or if they have been the victims of crime.

Obama in Lisbon

Charismatic, charming and cheerful are three words that best sum up the demeanour of the President of the United States of America in Lisbon during his visit.

Despite the tough security, journalists were accommodated to the maximum in having access to the American President at meetings with the Portuguese President Cavaco Silva and with Prime Minister José Sócrates.

The economic and financial crisis topped the agenda as well as developing possible areas of bi-lateral cooperation between the two nations in areas such as renewable energy, commerce, investment, science and technology.

DECEMBER

IKEA signs contract with Loulé Câmara

IKEA and the Municipality of Loulé signed a cooperation agreement on December 2 that will allow the building of an IKEA store, a shopping centre and a retail park at Caliços, near the junction of Loulé-Sul and the A22-Via do Infante. This project will see an investment of €200 million and will create 3,000 jobs in the region.

A spokesman from IKEA told the Algarve Resident: “This will be a positive investment for social and economic development for the Algarve. The opening of an IKEA store as well as a shopping centre and retail park built in the same commercial area will be a unique project for the Algarve, with high importance for the Municipality of Loulé and the region.”

Royal honeymoon

Prince William and Kate Middleton, who are getting married on April 29 next year, have been invited by the Algarve Tourism Board to spend their honeymoon in the region.

Following the announcement of the RoyaI wedding, which made headlines across the world, tourism officials in the Algarve were quick to make the invitation via the British Embassy in Lisbon.

British Consul to the Algarve Clive Jewell said he hoped the couple would accept the invitation as this would serve to further strengthen the alliance that already exists between both countries.
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