The Algarve Tourism Association rightly claims that 2017 was a record year and that the targets it had set for inbound tourism were achieved.
“According to the data to which we have had access, we can say that last year several records were beaten such as the number of guests, occupancy rates and revenues,” said Dora Coelho, executive director of the ATA.
Faro Airport, for example, handled 8.7 million passengers in 2017, an increase of more than 1.1 million passengers (up 14.4%) compared to the previous year.
The increase in occupancy rates during the low season also was evident – another objective the ATA claims to have achieved but, like many of these positive aspects, has little to do with the activities of the various tourism bodies, despite their dedicated work, and more to do with the collapse of north African tourist destinations increasing demand.
The ATA also congratulated itself on the golf figures for last year where the Algarve courses made up 70% of the rounds played in the country.
The focus on nature tourism, especially niche products such as wellness, cycling & walking, birdwatching and surfing, as well as promoting the region as a destination of excellence for Meetings & Incentives, also has started to bear fruit, according to Coelho.
There is a growing increase in the number of overnight stays in the region in the intermediate and low seasons, which contributes to an increasing number of hotels that no longer have to shut down during these periods. This demonstrates that the Algarve has begun to position itself as an all-year-round destination.
“Also the profile of the tourist that visits begins to undergo some changes, since it’s no longer just seen as a beach destination and there is a growing demand for an alternative, more authentic and genuine Algarve,” explains Coelho.
The various international awards gained by the Algarve in 2017 prove that the region continues to increase its external recognition, remaining in the minds of the tourist industry and of tourists.
“With regard to 2018, the great challenge is to get these results to continue growing. The entire ATA team and its management, together with its associates, are confident in the success of this mission, betting on a strategy that will diversify the markets that have registered strong rises, such as from Poland, Italy, the United States and Brazil although obviously not neglecting Germany, France, Ireland, the Netherlands and Sweden.
The Algarve is still highly dependent on the United Kingdom, its main market, so it is important to up the income from other markets and to continue working on attracting new routes and increasing flight frequencies to the region,” concluded the ATA’s director.
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