Reactions to Brexit: Algarve in anticipation but confident in British loyalty

O Sul Informação spoke with personalities linked to different areas, from entrepreneurs to association leaders, passing by heads of entities […]

Proposed referendum on United Kingdom membership of the European UnionO Sul Informação spoke with personalities linked to different areas, from entrepreneurs to association leaders, including officials of public entities and mayors, to know their vision of the victory of the "No" to permanence in the European Union in this Thursday's referendum in the United Kingdom :

Desidério Silva (President of the Algarve Tourism Region)

«Now, we are going to live moments of worry, until things stabilize again. For now, the signs of the devaluation of the pound are not good news for the Algarve. Hopefully the impact will not be as negative as it is now anticipated. Things have changed a lot and there are factors that we don't control. Let's wait and see…»


Isilda Gomes_1Isilda Gomes (President of Portimão City Council)

“I see the result of the referendum with concern, not only because of what might happen to the investment of the British community in the municipality of Portimão, which has been increasing in recent times, but also because of the situation in Europe, as we knew it. I fear that this choice by the British could have a domino effect, as there may be other countries wanting to leave the European Union. I believe that this victory of the "No" should lead European leaders to question whether what has been done in Europe is right or not. The European Union, as it has been managed in recent years, has created great disillusionment among citizens. And there was even an increase in inequalities between countries, with different treatment between countries and with a rigor to be applied only to some countries, the most fragile, such as Portugal or Greece, which have been the most penalized. This big shake should lead to deep reflection. I hope that this shake does not make Europe topple, but I also hope that something changes, and in a profound way».


Victor NetoVítor Neto (president of NERA – Business Association of the Algarve Region)

“We already knew that the UK's departure from the EU was a possibility. Now, we have to have a calm, rational and confident attitude. This is a market with very deep roots in the Algarve, it is not an occasional market. We have to be aware that the relationships are very strong and will continue. But we have to make an effort to approach and deepen relationships with operators and customers, we cannot be mere spectators. This will be what other competing destinations within the European Union will do. We will have to demand this effort from the Government, as well as measures that can facilitate the coming of British tourists to Portugal».


Rui AndrewRui André (President of the Municipality of Monchique)

«I welcomed the news with some sadness and apprehension. The process that will now unfold is a test for Europe and the UK itself. There is the possibility that Scotland will leave and, who knows, even remain in the European Union. We're going to have a period now until this dust settles, to clarify what's going to happen. In the case of Monchique, in addition to being the council chosen for the last two years by Prime Minister David Cameron for his holidays, we recently had a large British investment, the purchase and reopening of the McDonalds resort. I think that the British will always choose the Algarve as a holiday, second home or even permanent residence, because our region continues to be very safe and pleasant. I don't want to believe that there will be a slowdown in British investment in the Algarve and Portugal in general, but it will all depend on how Libra behaves. The fact is that, having opted out of the European Union, the UK is still in Europe. There will continue to be economic and other relations, there is a mutual interest for this to continue, namely between Portugal and the United Kingdom».


Elider ViegasElidérico Viegas (president of AHETA – Association of Hotels and Touristic Enterprises of the Algarve)

“We regret the departure of the UK from the European Union. It is a strategic and priority market for the Algarve and any economic or social upheaval could be bad for the Algarve. We cannot predict what will happen, but we are concerned, of course. But, for this tourist year, it is not foreseeable that there will be problems, since the reservations are made and everything is contracted. Some impact can be felt in terms of the loss of purchasing power, by British tourists, due to the devaluation of the Libra».


Bruno CarlosBruno Carlos (CEO of Claranet SOHO)

“For Claranet SOHO, I don't foresee any problems, as we work essentially for the internal market. I don't see Brexit affecting companies in the technology sector very much. In the medium term, we will even be able to watch companies in the technology sector leave the United Kingdom for other countries, with Portugal and even the Algarve region being a potential destination for these companies. But of course, as an Algarvian, this departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union worries me».



Eliseu Correia_ EC TravelEliseu Correia (CEO of EC Travel)

As I expected, the British voted out. His entire history pointed in this direction and there is no need to explain why. The will of a people is sovereign and at least this is more honest than wanting to be, but only in what is convenient, and rejecting what doesn't matter. The economy is something very complex and, assuming right away that the pound will devalue and strongly harm our tourism, it is hasty, because I think so, at the first impact, but then it will recover. I have to leaveair settle the dust. We'll see. As for the European “Union”, this word should be lived up to, because if it doesn't, it will be a general stampede and the end of the single currency. And that's it, it's life…shuffles and gives it again, we'll have to adapt. As always.


João Soares APHJoão Soares (Algarve delegate of the Associação dos Hóteis de Portugal)

“Obviously it was important to us that the UK had not left the EU. Now we need some caution and avoid alarmism. We believe that the flow of tourists will continue and, eventually, it could even increase, due to the upheavals taking place in other competing destinations. The only thing that worries us is the price. It is expected that tour operators will take advantage of the situation [to seek lower prices]. But it is necessary to be calm, we cannot see, for now, a drama in this situation».


Alexandra Rodrigues GoncalvesAlexandra Gonçalves (Regional Director of Culture of the Algarve)

“Of course we are going to have some impact on the economies. The Pound is devaluing, stocks are falling. But this might just be a first reaction. It would be more serious if the UK had joined the euro and now wanted to leave the euro area and the European Union as well. But there is still a lot to define. What happens from now on, and with the resignation of David Cameron, will also depend on the upcoming elections and on the Government that leaves them. The UK was not feeling well in this European Union and wanted to leave. The decision of the people was sovereign, whether you agree or not. Democracy is like that. They refused, in essence, to be part of European sovereignty, in order to regain only national sovereignty. For us, in Portugal and in the Algarve, in terms of tourism, there may be some impact, but it will not be as big as some people have announced. The British will continue to travel and the Algarve will continue to be at the top of their preferences. Those who are living here will quietly continue to do so. It is true that there may be economic effects in the UK that cause British travel to contract. But, if that happens, it could even help us, here in the Algarve, to rethink our region's strategy as a tourist destination».


Hugo Nunes (Vice President of the Municipality of Loulé)

hugo nunes“These are moments of apprehension for what the European project and the European Union is, but also apprehension for the impact it will have on the economy of the municipality and the region. The devaluation of the Libra, which has already been felt, will probably not have a great impact at this time, but it will make a group of people rethink their holiday destination, even because of the complications they have to come here. If we leave aside this great house that was Europe, the important role that the United Kingdom has in Europe and the European Union, and if we think more closely, and more connected to our daily lives, we have reasons to worry about what our future is in the short term».


António-Branco_novaAntónio Branco (Rector of the University of Algarve)

“There are two distinct dimensions here. At this time, it is still too early to understand what the consequences of the United Kingdom's departure from the European Union will be for the Algarve, Portugal and Europe. It will be a complex process, which will take a long time and will depend on many factors, so it would be premature to talk about it.

On another plane, taking into account what seems to me to be a very great degradation of the values ​​and principles that were at the origin and foundation of what is now called the European Union, I am not surprised that what happened in this referendum happened, as it must have there were very different reasons for voting No. I even wonder if there would not be similar results in other countries – Italy, France, the Netherlands – if referendums were held in the same direction at the moment. I would like this to be an opportunity for Europe to realize that it has to change course, but I am not sure if that will be the reaction of the European leaders with greater decision-making capacity».


Rui Nunes FERui Nunes (Director of the Faculty of Economics, University of Algarve)

“This is a complex topic that can be looked at from different angles. There are immediate effects on economies, which include fluctuations in stock exchanges and the prices of raw materials. In relation to the Algarve, I do not see that the departure of the UK from the EU can have immediate effects. We are in the middle of high season and the contracts are closed. In the coming years, there may or may not be. It is difficult to make such a long-term forecast, it depends a lot on what the European Union and the UK do. For Portugal, Brexit may even be beneficial, if it promotes a change in policy in the European Union, which bets on economic growth and social cohesion, to the detriment of austerity».