Lisbon region tourism authority calls for ongoing support for sector recovery

  • Lusa
  • 5 August 2021

The Regional Tourism Authority for the Lisbon Region (ERT-RL) called for support for the recovery of companies in the sector to be maintained until April 2022.

The Regional Tourism Authority for the Lisbon Region (ERT-RL) on Thursday called for support for the recovery of companies in the sector to be maintained until April 2022, to counter what it described as the “devastating” crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic in this region.

In a statement, the authority said that existing measures to support the sector were insufficient and argued that it was urgent that other measures already demanded of the government by sector associations be brought in, given that “the pandemic crisis has been devastating and it is necessary to ensure a qualified workforce and essential services to ensure a good experience for those visiting the region.”

Among other proposals, the authority argued that all activities should be able to open without restrictions on hours or capacity, “given the advance of the vaccination process, the massification of tests and the knowledge acquired in the fight against the novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19.

Stressing that the crisis “is putting the economic fabric of Tourism in Lisbon at risk of collapse”, the ERT-RL states that it wants recovery support to be maintained until April 2022 for all companies that have suffered a major drop in turnover, in order to “help active employment, cash flow and business capitalisation, allowing the economic recovery of companies and the opportunity for professional training.”

At the same time, the ERT-RL wants the support provided by Lisbon city council’s ‘Lisboa Protege’ programme – including free coronavirus tests for residents – which it considers “essential to resist the current crisis”, to be maintained and extended.

Among the authority’s main proposals are that the exemption of outdoor dining areas from the usual taxes should be extended until the end of the pandemic and that “cafes and restaurants can transform temporary terraces into permanent ones.”

It also wants a “suitable solution” to be found for problems arising in airports where more entry formalities have caused delays, “given that 90% of visitors to Lisbon access the destination by air”.

Worldwide, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused at least 4,247,424 deaths worldwide, out of more than 200.1 million cases of infection by the new coronavirus, since the WHO detected the disease in China in late December 2019, according to the latest calculation by Agenca France Presse, based on official data.

In Portugal, since the pandemic reached the country in March last year, 17,412 people have died and 977,406 cases of infection have been recorded, according to the Directorate-General of Health.

The respiratory disease is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, detected in late 2019 in Wuhan, a city in central China, and currently with variants identified in countries such as the UK, India, South Africa, Brazil and Peru.