According to the head of the Algarve Tourism Board (RTA), bookings from June to October "are at levels close to those of 2019."
The tourist occupancy rate for the June holidays in the Algarve is expected to be around 80%, with about 17,000 passengers currently disembarking daily at Faro airport, the president of Turismo do Algarve told Lusa on Monday.
“There is a clear sign in the recovery of demand from domestic and foreign tourists, which is more robust than was expected at the beginning of the year,” said João Fernandes, estimating occupancy for the long weekends in June at around 80%.
According to the head of the Algarve Tourism Board (RTA), bookings from June to October “are at levels close to those of 2019,” with the return of traditional tourism from the United Kingdom and Ireland being noted, as well as those who play golf, which in recent years “showed significant declines.”
In addition to the mini holidays provided by the national holidays of 10 and 16 June and the municipal holiday of 13 June – in Lisbon and elsewhere – which attract many Portuguese to the South, there are on average 100 flights arriving daily in Faro, which represents around 17,000 passengers.
On the other hand, noted João Fernandes, there is also a significant increase in the arrival of groups of companies that come to the Algarve for meetings and gatherings and tourists from French-speaking European countries such as France, Belgium and Switzerland.
However, the president of the RTA warned of the lack of human resources in various sectors in the Algarve and Tourism because there are “fewer and fewer young people entering the job market”.
Recalling that “before, people used to go to the Alentejo to look for workers”, João Fernandes noted that this region has also developed its tourism sector, and the “only possibility is to go and recruit people outside the country”.
“It has been difficult to meet the needs we have,” and although the region and business owners have been “significantly increasing” the wages paid in the sector, he said.
He pointed to two “challenges” to solve the problem: “speeding up” the mechanisms to bring in labour from abroad, namely with the help of the Immigration and Border Services (SEF), and “guaranteeing decent conditions” of residence for these increasingly permanent workers.
João Fernandes made a point of “welcoming the contingency plan” approved at the end of May by the government, which provides for the reinforcement of human and technological resources at national airports, including Faro, to respond to a greater influx of people into the country during the summer months.
It is not yet possible to conclude whether the war in Ukraine has contributed to the increase in foreign tourism in the Algarve. Still, the head of the Algarve Tourist Board recognises that the region benefits from the fact that it is far from the conflict and that Portugal is considered a safe country.
According to the RTA president, Portugal gave “a good response” in the fight against the covid-19 pandemic. The Algarve received some international awards during the pandemic, which “boosted the notoriety” of the region.
“We are reaping the rewards of the work we have been doing,” he concluded.