The «happy day» of the inauguration of the new School of Hospitality in Portimão

Old prison gave way to a modern school, located in the center of Portimão

«Investment in education is the most productive that the country can have» said this Monday, the 23rd, the Minister of Economy at the inauguration of the new facilities of the School of Hospitality and Tourism of Portimão (EHTP).

According to Minister António Costa Silva, education «changes people and it is people who transform the world. We want to be the most sustainable destination in the world and this cannot be done without quality schools».

The new facilities at that School result from the adaptation and expansion of the building of the former prison in Portimão, in a project by the architect João Laranjo and after works worth 2,3 million euros.

The Minister of Economy considered that yesterday was «a happy day», due to the inauguration of the space that transformed «a prison into a house of knowledge», to «train people».

Isilda Gomes, mayor of Portimão, also recalled: «I came here when I was Civil Governor, to visit the prison, but now it is a joy to enter here, in this school».

The mayor, who was also a teacher, underlined that «there are many good hotels all over the world, beautiful cities too», but, in terms of tourism, «what distinguishes us is the quality of the service provided». That's where EHTP comes in, now equipped with the best conditions.



Speaking at the inaugural session that took place in the new auditorium of the building, José Apolinário, president of the Commission for Coordination and Regional Development (CCDR) of the Algarve, the entity that manages the European funds that financed the work, stressed that «the hotel and tourism schools are a strategic added value for the training of professionals in this sector».

The person in charge of CCDR also referred to the «demographic winter» that Portugal is beginning to suffer, to underline the importance of hotel management schools to «qualify the migratory flows» that will be necessary to supply the jobs.

Nuno Fazenda, Secretary of State for Tourism, said that “this school has three very important brands: the first brand is rehabilitation and sustainability. A new building was not built from scratch, the existing one was rehabilitated, with concerns for energy efficiency, efficient water management».

Then, added Nuno Fazenda, «there is a second mark which is the qualifications themselves: training more young people, more adults, more people online».

«And it has a third brand, which is entrepreneurship: it is not limited to training students», it also has «a very important connection to management, to entrepreneurship».



António Furtado, president of ESTAMO – Participações Imobiliárias, SA, the company that owns the former Prison of Portimão, whose capital is wholly owned by Parpública, made a point of underlining the «work in partnership, in articulation, in network» that led to a successful outcome the process of transforming the chain into a hospitality school.

And he took the opportunity to emphasize that, in this work, «calendar, projects and budgets were fulfilled».

Luís Araújo, president of Turismo de Portugal, defended that Portugal has the «best number of public tourism training schools in the world». But it also has high-quality training, which means that «90% of its students are immediately employable», while «20% of students who do internships stay on site», proving their «connection to companies».

The mayor, Isilda Gomes, took the opportunity, for her part, to say that «being here [at the inauguration] the Minister and the Secretary of State reveals the importance they attach to Tourism in the Algarve» and the «excellent training» that the new School of Hospitality will promote.

But, in front of an auditorium where there were also many businessmen, the mayor also made an appeal for "social justice": "that businessmen recognize this training of excellence" by raising "a little the salary they pay to workers".



Pedro Moreira, director of the EHTP, recalled that this was, still in precarious installations, the «fourth Hotel and Tourism School to be created in the country».

On the sidelines of the inauguration, this official highlighted, in statements to the Sul Informação, the «modernity of the space, comfort, all this beauty» and «a very close approximation to the reality of the hotel business, with all the equipment that is here now».

Combining innovative technical spaces with sustainable and efficient characteristics, which will increase the quality of training and reduce energy and water consumption, the new school has 8 classrooms equipped with the latest technology, which facilitates hybrid teaching that combines face-to-face and distance training, two application kitchens with state-of-the-art equipment, an auditorium with capacity for 140 people, laboratory with individual kitchens, application bar and application restaurant.

The latter will be open to the public, but the date on which this will happen is not yet defined.

EHTP currently has 104 students in initial training, but this number will increase. «In the future, since we already have authorization to operate for extended hours, we will promote post-work courses», revealed Pedro Moreira to the Sul Informação.

In addition to these 140 face-to-face students, there are also "more than 3700 students in continuous training, either in the Digital Academy, which anyone in any part of the world can access for free, or in face-to-face training", he added.

The inauguration culminated with a visit to the facilities and a cocktail prepared and served by EHTP students, to the sound of a jazz ensemble from Escola da Bemposta.


Photos: Elisabete Rodrigues | Sul Informação

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