Tourism industry personalities demand immediate suspension of tolls

The president of the Algarve Tourism Board António Pina and the leaders of business associations Elidérico Viegas and Vítor Neto demand […]

The president of the Algarve Tourism Board António Pina and the leaders of business associations Elidérico Viegas and Vítor Neto demand that toll collection on Via do Infante be suspended, in reaction to the decision announced this Wednesday by the Government not to extend the exemptions on the A22 for residents beyond the month of September.

For the three personalities, it is more than proven that the introduction of tolls was a mistake and that it is notoriously damaging the main industry in the region, tourism.

Even so, the decision, announced yesterday by the Secretary of State for Public Works, was not surprising, as revealed to the Sul Informação, on the sidelines of the presentation session of the Algarve Training measure.

“It was something we were waiting for. Unfortunately, the main issue regarding tolls on Via do Infante is not about positive discrimination, but about the total suspension of tolls. In less than a year, this measure has already proved to be an attack on the economic interests of the region and the country», considered Elidérico Viegas, president of the Association of Hotels and Touristic Enterprises of the Algarve.

For the hoteliers' representative, the introduction of tolls “revealed an anti-tourism measure, anti-economic interests of the region”. “More than 50 percent reduction in traffic on Via do Infante and a decrease in demand for Spanish tourists by almost 20 percent should be more than enough reasons for the Government to take a shortcut, make an act of contrition and immediately suspend the tolls», he defended.

António Pina, on the other hand, was not bothered by the Government's decision, since, he said, he was always "against tolls and against these aspirins." "More aspirin, less aspirin, is still a shot at the aircraft carrier that is Turismo do Algarve," he said.

Thus, the president of ERTA focuses "on the fundamental issue: that there are no tolls". «I don't waste time and don't focus my attention on small measures. I focus my reflection on the no to tolls», he added.

The president of the Business Association of the Algarve Region Vítor Neto also supports the demand for the suspension of toll payments, but he still repudiates the non-extension of the exemptions.

«I see this measure with bad eyes, I think it is wrong. It is just confirmation of the insensitivity to the economic importance of tourism and the role of the Algarve in this economic importance. Therefore, it is an act of disregard for this reality," he said.

Vítor Neto also said that the announcement confirmed that "in relation to tolls, there is no adequate vision". "I'm not surprised by this, it only confirms my doubts and I think it's an economic, political and social mistake," he said, recalling that "since 2004" he has been actively fighting against the introduction of tolls on the A22.