More than 70% of hotels and tourist developments in the Algarve should suspend activity during the low season due to the crisis caused by the covid-19 pandemic, the president of the sector’s main regional association said today.
The president of the Association of Hotels and Tourist Enterprises of the Algarve (AHETA) noted to the Lusa news agency that, “during the winter, before the pandemic, about 50% of the hotels and developments were already closed”, warning that this number may rise and leave only less than 30% of hotels and developments in activity during the coming winter.
“This year our expectations are around 70%, and this number may be even higher”, said Elidérico Viegas about the prospects of AHETA for the low season of 2020/2021, stressing that “at the end of September many units closed the activity and shut down”.
The president of AHETA warned, however, that these figures are only based on expectations, because “hotels and tourism enterprises are not obliged to inform about the closure” and this is only part of the “decision of the owner and management” of each unit.
Last weekend, some hotels in the Algarve, especially in Portimão, registered high occupancy levels due to the realization of the Portuguese Grand Prix of Formula 1 in the region. However, according to Elidérico Viegas, many of these hotels foresee “closing immediately after” the event.
Asked about the estimated date for a possible resumption of tourism activity in the region, that Mr Viegas said that there are still no prospects for recovery, claiming that there are two fundamental aspects for the recovery to take place and that they are not fulfilled.
“On the one hand, people are afraid to travel, all over the world, and on the other hand there is still no confidence in people regarding the issue of the disease, the pandemic, which will allow them to start taking holidays in a normal way”, he argued.
For these reasons, the president of AHETA considered that, “as long as these two factors are not overcome in international terms, in global terms, tourism will have difficulty recovering”, after previously, in March when the pandemic broke out, having pointed to Easter 2021 as the date for the tourist recovery.
“When I said that in March, right at the beginning, I was being lynched, now, I was too optimistic”, he recalled, referring to the prognosis he made then about the economic recovery and which pointed to an improvement starting next spring.
Elidérico Viegas also said that “some factors of uncertainty” remain about the pandemic, although it is already known that the “short and medium term evolution” envisaged by air transport points to a recovery period that could last for four years.
“Air transport is crucial for tourism flows. We already know that the airlines have reduced substantially, they do not plan to recover before three or four years, so we are going to live atypical years here, although we, our forecasts, point out that, starting next Easter and the beginning of the new tourist season, things can start to evolve positively ”, he said.
With a resumption from next Easter, the hotels and associated tourist developments of AHETA “will not return immediately to the profits of 2019, but it is possible to have some perspectives that tourism may evolve favourably, especially short haul destinations”.
This could be “the case of the Algarve”, which is two or two and a half hours by plane from the operational centers of central and northern Europe, markets that are the main emitters of tourists to the Algarve.
Original article available in Portuguese at http://postal.pt/