40 years, 100 trips: this is the love story between Margaret Thompson and the Algarve

Briton traveled for the 100th time to the Algarve and was entitled to a warm welcome

He has been to Lagos, Armação de Pêra, Vale do Lobo or Albufeira and says that there are no people like the Portuguese. In 1978, she visited the Algarve for the first time, and since then Margaret Thompson comes to the region at least twice a year. This Monday, October 15th, was the 100th trip that this 86-year-old British woman made to the Algarve and even had the right to a bunch of flowers to mark the anniversary. 

When he was on his way to the arrivals area of ​​the Airport of Faro, Margaret was far from imagining the surprise that was prepared. Accompanied by her friend Katelyn, who brought her on vacation, she started to find the apparatus strange, but quickly realized what was going on.

João Fernandes, president of the Algarve Tourism Region, and Alberto Mota Borges, director of the Airport of Faro, welcomed her with open arms (literally) and handed her a bunch of flowers that delighted the Brit.

«They are to mark his 100th trip to the Algarve», explained João Fernandes. "I know I know. Are beautiful. I love it!», replied Margaret, always smiling and in a good mood.

A retired primary school teacher, this British, born in Newcastle, has been to the Algarve every month. She usually comes in low season, at least twice a year and alone, but this time she brought a friend, which proves that she has already become a ambassador Of region.

“I usually tell my friends to come. I love the Algarve lifestyle. Nothing is a problem. I even say that the favorite phrase of the Portuguese is: no problem (no problem)», he joked, in conversation with the journalists.

For Margaret, the main reason that has made her come back 100 times (!) to the Algarve is «the people». “They are always honest and friendly, wherever they are”, he considered.

During the holidays, he revealed, he can't do without a walk on the beach and a lunch out. "Whenever I come, I have to have my chicken with chilli and a custard tart", he said, between laughs.

In her last visits to the Algarve, the 86-year-old British woman has been staying at Luz Beach Apartments, in the municipality of Lagos, a hotel that had the idea of ​​making this surprise to a loyal customer.

English Colette Kent, receptionist, was the one who made the contacts with the Algarve Tourism Region. “I remembered that we could make some surprises on this arrival at the airport. I have developed a great friendship with Mrs Margaret. It's a big customer», he revealed to journalists.

At first Colette didn't count on the request being accepted, but the truth is, to her delight, it was. Despite the regular presence of this British customer, the receptionist notes that, at Luz Beach Apartments, the UK market had "a slight decline". According to the National Institute of Statistics, in August alone there was a 12,3% reduction in British tourists compared to last year.

Brexit is one of the justifications, a process that Margaret Thompson challenges. “I voted for us to stay in the European Union. I'm scared of what might happen,” he confessed.

The reception of this British woman in love with the Algarve had another meaning because of that. “We would do it if we were a tourist of another nationality, but, being someone from the United Kingdom, there is a special symbolism”, confessed João Fernandes, president of the Tourism Region.

With or without leaving the European Union, Margaret Thompson's loyalty to the Algarve is certain. Whether alone or accompanied, you can't do without a regular visit to a region you've chosen as your choice for your vacation.

And the next visit (he has just arrived here…) is already scheduled: January 1, 2019.


Photos: Pablo Sabater | Sul Informação