AHETA: «Regional and national tourist interest demands the suspension of tolls on Via do Infante from the government»

The Association of Hotels and Touristic Enterprises of the Algarve (AHETA) this Wednesday appealed “vehemently to the government to, on behalf of […]

The Association of Hotels and Touristic Enterprises of the Algarve (AHETA) this Wednesday appealed "vehemently to the government, in the name of regional and national interest, to suspend the collection of tolls on the A22".

The hoteliers association says that it makes this appeal "at a time when the government is preparing to carry out an assessment of the first six months on the introduction of tolls on Via do Infante, with a view to reviewing them."

AHETA even says, in a statement, that «the tolls on Via do Infante «are not only unfair but also an economic and tourist disaster, resulting from the application of a confused and demotivating model, and should be urgently suspended».

On the other hand, he considers, «the extension of exemptions is not presented as a solution, but rather as persisting in an error that needs to be corrected at all costs».

«A region and a country that need tourism like bread for mouth, do not attract visitors, creating difficulties after difficulties, as is the case of tolls on Via do Infante, especially when the payment model adopted has proven to be impractical, ineffective , generator of discontent and, therefore, enhancer of emotional conflicts and others», says AHETA.

With the approaching high season of tourism, a time when the region is more sought after by national and foreign tourists, the hoteliers association alerts the Government «to the need to avoid the more than predictable chaotic situation that, inevitably, will occur in the Algarve during the coming summer months, translated into huge losses for the regional and national economy».

«As an example, it should be mentioned that only the Spanish market presents, after the introduction of tolls on the A22, an accumulated decrease of more than 20 percent compared to the same period in 2011, with forecasts for an even more significant fall during the period. the summer months,” adds the association.

«The losses resulting from this reduction in demand are incalculable, whether in the invoicing of hotel and tourist units, or in regional commerce and restaurants, contributing significantly to the increase in unemployment», emphasize the Algarve's hoteliers.

AHETA recalls that the strategic and priority nature of the Spanish market is not in question, especially as it has been registering very significant increases in recent years for the Algarve, having contributed decisively to offset the declines that have occurred in the main foreign markets.

On the other hand, the balance of the first six months shows that, «compared to the same period of the previous year, there were more fatal accidents and more serious accidents on the EN125, a natural consequence of the almost 60 percent reduction in traffic on the Via do Infante and consequent transfer of transit to national 125'.

The stoppage of the requalification works on the EN125, together with the end of positive discrimination on Via do Infante at the end of June, will, according to the hoteliers, «further aggravate the black numbers of serious accidents and cause irreparable damage to the image of the greater Portuguese tourist region, through national and international media coverage of these accidents, namely those involving foreign citizens».