Can the Brexit of the European Union lead to a Brexit of the Algarve?

In three days, the British will go to the polls to decide whether (or not) the UK will remain in the […]

brexit-1462470592ZSAIn three days, the British will go to the polls to decide on the permanence (or not) of the United Kingdom in the European Union. Polls say that the Brexit (the exit) may become a reality and, in the Algarve, "a living account" is made to understand - and counteract - the consequences that may result from the departure of the EU's biggest foreign "customer" of the economy and tourism from the EU. region.

Ana Mendes Godinho with Desidério Silva
Ana Mendes Godinho with Desidério Silva

For the Secretary of State for Tourism, the ties that link the region to the United Kingdom will be stronger than the eventual Brexit.

Ao Sul Informação, Ana Mendes Godinho said that, «despite some instability that has occurred in recent months, due to the eventual outcome of this referendum, the truth is that the UK market continues to grow a lot for Portugal. This means that, even with the uncertainty that is being lived, this is not inhibiting the English from coming to Portugal».

The official admits that "no one knows very well what could happen and there is some uncertainty about the consequences", but she is confident in the historical ties that link the Algarve to Great Britain. "The United Kingdom has great loyalty to our destiny and the connection is so strong to that market, that I believe we will continue with this strong connection".

Jorge Botelho
Jorge Botelho

Jorge Botelho, president of the Algarve Intermunicipal Community (AMAL), has a similar position, who believes that «the English market will continue, because the British will continue to spend their holidays».

For the mayor, the secret to continue to attract the British to the Algarve, given the expected devaluation of the Pound against the Euro, in case of Brexit, means “being very competitive to attract the English market”.

The competitiveness of the Algarve destination will pass through the hands of businessmen and, for Vítor Neto, president of NERA – Business Association of the Algarve Region, the main problem for the region comes from the «exchange strength of the Libra because, if it loses value in relation to the Euro , it becomes more expensive for the English to visit the Algarve and this is harmful».

Therefore, in statements to our newspaper, Vítor Neto defends that the Algarve must find ways to continue to be competitive, in a situation «where the British have less purchasing power and less exchange capacity».

To do so, it will be necessary, according to the representative of the Algarve businessmen, "to improve the promotion of the destination in the United Kingdom, deepen knowledge of the English market, seek new sectors and create greater dynamism in our intervention in the English market."

Vitor Neto, president of NERA and secretary of the General Assembly of ANT
Victor Neto

For Vítor Neto, the biggest mistake that can be made is to face the “hard and difficult battle with unhealthy pessimism, which leads to inaction and resignation”. Therefore, «entrepreneurs have to know how to act and adapt the offer, prices, flexibility, open markets and attract new customers».

In addition to tourists arriving in the region and investing their money in the Algarve, there are also many Englishmen who became entrepreneurs here.

For Vítor Neto, this «plays in our favor. We must try to strengthen our connection, with dialogue and interaction, so that they do not feel isolated, marginalized, or even doubtful about their own country».

With doubts about the possible consequences that the Brexit can bring to the Algarve is Desidério Silva, president of the Algarve Tourism Region. The official admits that "there is concern about the change that may come to be verified, which brings an inherent problem: which is the devaluation of the Libra against the Euro", which Desidério Silva considers as a certainty in case of Brexit.

«The Algarve is interested in the power of Libra and that is what is at stake: the purchasing power». For this reason, Desidério Silva says that “the ideal was that the United Kingdom would not leave the European Union”.

It remains to be seen if the British will, on Thursday, do what Desidério Silva and… the Algarve will do at the polls.