The president of the main regional hotel association, Elidérico Viegas, said the Algarve's hotel industry may not return to normal until next Easter, because of the coronavirus crisis.
The Algarve’s hotel industry may not return to normal until Easter 2021, due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, but there are hotels considering reopening as early as June or July, the president of the main regional hotel association said.
The president of the Association of Hotels and Tourist Enterprises of the Algarve (AHETA) told the Lusa agency about the sector’s expectations for the next high season and considered that the state of emergency must first be lifted and then know the timetable the government is preparing for a gradual recovery of economic activity from May.
“There are hotels that are planning to reopen as early as June, especially in the second half, others in early July. There will be some that won’t even open this year, because our prospects are that we will have demand from the domestic market”, said Elidérico Viegas.
The external market will have a “slower recovery” and its presence in the region will be “more residual” due to the dependence on air transport, which is practically at a standstill, so AHETA is counting on “a recovery and a return to normality” only “beginning next Easter. Everything depends on how the pandemic evolves”.
Elidérico Viegas considered that the Algarve has “an important competitive value, because “it’s one of the least affected areas of the country, in terms of infection and death” caused by the pandemic – but, he argued, hotels and businesses have to know what sanitary and security procedures they have to adopt in order to function.
“The new realities mean that we must be able to implement good practices in the management of public spaces – beaches, hotels – that induce confidence to tourists and make them feel comfortable in traveling to the region,” he said.
It is necessary to take safe steps and not take risks, as in the case of countries that have suffered the impact of the pandemic, reopening business and then going back with a further increase in the number of cases,” he warned.
João Fernandes, president of the Algarve Tourism Region (RTA), assured Lusa that the Algarve is already “preparing this new normality” for when the government moves forward in “the progressive resumption of activities, in the period of May and June”.
He confessed that he was pleased with the intention expressed by “Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for the Internal Market, to be able to travel in Europe this summer” and to “resume the air link capacity”.
“We have to be able at that time to guarantee the security that allows those who seek us to have the confidence to visit us,” he said, adding that “a set of good practices is being prepared for various areas – from beaches, to accommodation, catering, golf courses, marinas, maritime-tourism and tourist entertainment companies – to have properly defined health protocols” that allow the resumption of activity in safety.
Asked whether the distance measures to be applied in these areas could jeopardise the resumption in a region like the Algarve, João Fernandes replied that “a lot has been said about the beaches”, but assured that they “will be open and available, obviously with some conditioning”.
The president of the RTA recalled the “disinfectant properties of the sun” and considered that the action protocols that will be adopted will be “feasible, not quantum physics”.