Algarve hoteliers hopeful that home tourism will fight back at losses since March
Hoteliers in the Algarve are hopeful that the national market can offset losses from the last three months, a period in which tourist revenues were reduced to practically zero, according the president of the largest sector association in the region.
Speaking to press, the president of the Association of Hotels and Tourist Enterprises of the Algarve (AHETA), Elidérico Viegas, indicated that confidence in the internal market “results from very favourable behaviour”, which already translates into the number of reservations being made as the lockdown was loosened further and the beginning of this month.
“National tourist reserves are rising every day in hotels and in the Algarve hotels have reopened, which gives us some confidence to believe in some recovery this year,” he said.
The official stressed that the opening of hotels and villas in the Algarve, previously closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is taking place “at a good pace, but in stages”, with an estimated 60% being open by the middle of the month, and the rest by the first week of July.
“In the units that reopened there is growth in the current context, hence we are confident, because domestic tourism has always been the most numerous, both in number of people and overnight stays, in the month of August”, he stressed.
According to Viegas, the Algarve “will benefit from the fact that many Portuguese will decide not to take a holiday abroad”.
“Therefore, we are confident that in relation to domestic tourism there will be very favourable behaviour,” he said.
The AHETA president also said that, although domestic tourism is strategic and a priority, the sector also plans to have some tourism from foreign markets this summer “as flights in Europe are resumed”.
“We have many requests from foreign markets that are waiting for flights to resume, hence our confidence, based on the fact that the Algarve is considered a safe area and little affected by infections by COVID-19, when compared to other competing tourist regions, like Spain, a country strongly affected by the pandemic”, he stressed.
Despite expectations for the resumption of tourism, hoteliers in the Algarve say that there is a collective awareness that 2020 “will not be the same as last year, but the little tourism will serve to offset the high losses of the last three months”.
“There is great confidence, but we are also dependent on some factors that we do not control, namely factors of uncertainty, which is air transport and restrictions in the countries of origin”, he warned.
Viegas added that the “well-founded expectations for the Algarve do not exist for the rest of the country, the Algarve region being, touristic ally speaking, the first to resume and restart the recovery process, although always with the awareness that the year will be very different from previous years”.