A “golden egg chicken” tourism and much more in debate at Albufeira 21-Summit

This Friday morning, four themes were addressed

Tourism, which will be «the goose that lays the golden eggs» that will rescue the Algarve from the current crisis, the related areas of Hotels and Restaurants and Tourism Animation, but also Industry, Commerce and Services, were in focus throughout the morning of today, at Albufeira 21-Summit, which started yesterday and runs until tomorrow in Albufeira.

During the morning, there were four different panels, each focused on one of these themes, first by speakers and then at round tables.

Opening the day, in addition to host José Carlos Rolo, the lecture on tourism was given by João Fernandes, president of Turismo do Algarve.

And he was one of the strong phrases of the morning: «There is room for tourism to grow in Albufeira and no one doubts that if it was the goose that laid the golden eggs that pulled us out of a previous crisis, it will also be what will pull us out of it».

João Fernandes took the opportunity to point out the path to the future, which, in his view, involves «controlling the pandemic (creating contingency plans in companies in conjunction with ARS – Algarve), helping companies and workers (the Algarve registers the unemployment rate highest in the country) and resume air connections and promote the destination'.

The topic of tourism was then deepened at a round table that brought together Ricardo Clemente, councilor of the Albufeira Council, Vítor Vieira, director of Apartamentos do Parque, and João Guerreiro, director of Hotel Rocamar.

In this debate, the participants spoke, mainly, about «the perspectives for Albufeira in ten years from now, the Tourism certification and Sustainable Tourism, if the sun and sea product is consolidated and what are the reference destinations compared to Albufeira», according to the Chamber .

João Guerreiro already sees some light at the end of the tunnel, considering that «the prospects are positive from the second half of May and June, depending on the decision of the United Kingdom to integrate the Algarve in Zona Verde as of the 17th of May».

The businessman also highlighted «the need to control the excess supply and the urgency of re-qualifying it so that we can be competitive in relation to our competitors», pointing out as «fundamental» the creation of a Hotel Management School in Albufeira.

Ricardo Clemente, on the other hand, considers that we are "poorly selling" the product, despite it being "excellent", arguing that "we must value the Sea, work better on low season events, in conjunction with hotel units, make the reconversion of some accommodation units for the Health area and recovering the identity of Albufeira as a differentiating factor».

Vítor Vieira, in turn, highlighted the need to diversify the product, promoting Nature Tourism, especially in the medium/low season, which is much sought after by Dutch and Canadian tourists, stressing, however, that «it is the sun and sea product that pays for the accounts', so it cannot be neglected.


José Leandro, «Dean of Tourism in Albufeira», was the guest speaker to launch the theme Hotels and Restaurants.

The businessman, born in Paderne, considered that «we have to have an identity to sell what we have», recalling the difficulties in the 60s, namely «the potholed streets, the deficient electricity, the three hours to make a phone call , the lack of water and other situations».

Even so, he recalled, at the end of the stay, tourists "departed with pity and then returned bringing friends and neighbors."

"Here lies the paradox with which tourism in Albufeira has grown," said José Leandro.

The theme of Hotels and Restaurants was then deepened in a roundtable, which included the participation of Cristóvão Lopes, businessman and delegate of AHRESP, Rui Justo, director of Balaia Golfe Village and representative of APAL, and Carlos Oliveira, general director of Vagatur.

Tourist entertainment was the theme that followed, with Élio Vicente (Zoomarine), representing ANIMA, being asked to do the framing intervention.

The representative of the association that brings together tourist entertainment companies revealed that this sector has "an impact on the economy of 20%" in the Algarve.

"Tourism may not be a lever as it was before, there is enormous uncertainty and the recovery should only start in 2022, so there is a need to take urgent measures", he considered.

Among them are «the need for financial support, specialized promotion, confidence building, the fight against seasonality, improving and knowing how to communicate the perception of safety among visitors and being aware of the competition»

The roundtable dedicated to this topic was attended by Pedro Bacalhau, general director of AlgarExperience, Carla Ponte, head of the tourism division of the municipality and Carlos Mealha, director of Grupo Mealha.

Paulo Alentejano, president of ACRAL, was the speaker chosen for the last panel of the morning, on the theme Industry, Commerce and Services.

For the association leader, «the uncertainty continues to be enormous», recalling that «96% of companies in Albufeira in this sector have less than 10 employees, which causes a lot of apprehension, not least because of the 77 thousand existing companies in the region, 70% refer to to the trade and services sector».

This leads Paulo Alentejano to consider that «the economic crisis cannot wait for the resolution of the pandemic crisis» and that there will have to be specific support for the Algarve region.

The last round table of the morning was attended by entrepreneurs Helena Dias, Honório Teixeira and António Xufre.