Algarve bookings jump as UK starts air corridor

  • Lusa
  • 24 August 2020

Tourism bookings for the next month in the Algarve have increased by around 13 percentage points.

Tourism bookings for the month of September in the Algarve have increased by around 13 percentage points, with the British market “weighing substantially”, a leader of the Portuguese Hotel Association (AHP) has told Lusa.

“We’ve gone from 50% to 63% in three days. Although it’s not just an increase in the British market, it has a substantially large weight”, João Soares, head of the AHP in the Algarve, told Lusa on Sunday.

In the opinion of João Soares, also director of the Hotel Dom José in Quarteira (Loulé), “just as the British market has spread to other markets negatively, it now ends up spreading positively, because by coming to the Algarve it ends up bringing confidence to other countries and markets in northern Europe”.

The regional leader of the association, which represents more than 60% of national hotels, said that after the reopening of the air corridor with the UK, business people are waiting for Ireland to make the same decision.

“As the Irish are our second market in the middle/lower season, it was very important that they make the same decision as the UK,” he said.

João Soares believes that there will be a significant increase in reserves in the British market for the month of September: I have no doubt that this will happen because Spain is closed and the British people need to travel, they need to leave”.

“It’s not an increase that will solve the region’s problems, of course, because most hotels are between 50% and 70% below last year, but it will certainly help to mitigate at least the closure of hotels already in September by extending that decision to October or November,” he stressed.

According to João Soares, this year’s prices in the Algarve “are and will continue to be below those of previous years, due to low occupancy”, while the rates that were in force at the time of the UK’s decision to exempt travellers from quarantine are maintained.

“The price only increases when demand is greater than supply and there’s no demand greater than the supply and availability that existed, prices haven’t increased, and will continue to be much lower than in 2019,” he concluded.

On 19 August, the British government included Portugal in the list of countries with “travel corridors” to England whose passengers are exempt from a two-week quarantine imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a measure that came into force last Saturday.

By contrast, Croatia, Austria and the island of Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean have been removed from the list due to the growing number of infections, as have France, the Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, the Turks and Caicos Islands and Aruba, and previously Belgium, Andorra, the Bahamas, Spain and Luxembourg.

The United Kingdom introduced the need for self-isolation for 14 days for all persons arriving from abroad in the United Kingdom on 8 June to avoid importing infections, but a month later it exempted some 70 countries and territories, considered low risk.

The quarantine exemption is accompanied by the change of the Foreign Office council against non-essential travel to those destinations, important for travel insurance purposes.