Algarve Premium helped the internationalization of two hundred Algarve companies

Project was promoted by NERA – Business Association of the Algarve Region and by Turismo do Algarve

Photos: Hugo Rodrigues | Sul Informação

A lot of networking between agents and public entities, in the tourism and agri-food sectors of the Algarve, which had concrete results, with the signing of more than a hundred cooperation agreements between Algarve businesspeople and international prospectors, with a view to internationalization. These were the “victories” of the Algarve Premium project, whose Closing Days took place on October 25th, at the NERA facilities, in Loulé.

The session, which brought together the different project partners, served to publicize the results of Algarve Premium, whose main objective was to promote the internationalization of companies in the region. To this end, three collaborative networks were created, one in the Agro-food and Sea sector, another in Nautical Tourism and a third in Cultural and Creative Tourism.

The days were attended by project partners, namely the Business Association of the Algarve Region (NERA), the Algarve Tourism Region (RTA) and the Algarve Tourism Association (ATA), but also those who ended up being protagonists and major beneficiaries of the project: companies from the Algarve.

During this session, in addition to interventions by those responsible for the two entities promoting the project, Vítor Neto (NERA) and André Gomes (Turismo do Algarve), the results of Algarve Premium were presented in the three aspects covered: Agrifood and Sea (Marco Vieira, NERA ), Nautical Tourism (Ana Vargues, ATA) and Cultural and Creative Tourism (Susana Miguel, RTA).

The initiative also aimed to promote critical reflection on the importance, in the current scenario, of international recognition of the region's goods and services, and on the best strategies to boost future collective cooperation initiatives for internationalization.

As for the project itself, Algarve Premium «combined quality, tradition, identity and innovation through a wide range of activities» and included dynamization and training sessions, studies and strategic plans, participation in specialized competitions, media e fam trips, portfolios, promotional videos, reconnaissance missions and various international prospecting actions in Spain, France, Sweden, Italy and England.

With this, we sought to develop an internationalization program for excellent products in the three sectors, «in order to increase their recognition, notoriety and international visibility» in the Algarve.


Marco Vieira, Ana Vargues and Susana Miguel – Photo: Hugo Rodrigues | Sul Informação


In the end, and thanks to an investment of 679 thousand euros, co-financed by the European Union, through CRESC Algarve 2020, almost two hundred companies were involved – 82 in Agrifood and Sea, the four marinas in the Algarve and 87 companies in Cultural Tourism and Creative – and 105 new partnership/collaboration agreements were signed.

42 dissemination actions were also carried out, in which 543 people participated.

For Marco Vieira, executive director of NERA, one of the great victories of Algarve Premium was the networking that was possible to carry out in each of the three collaborative networks of this project, «within which it was possible to work a lot on this theme of internationalization, defining strategies for approaching the target markets that had been identified in the project application and also articulating the best way to welcome the international prospectors that this project planned to bring here to the Algarve in each of these three collaborative networks».

«As very positive, I also highlight the number of cooperation agreements that were possible to establish within the scope of the project, agreements that reflect the desire of these international prospectors and the Algarve companies involved in the project to continue talking, continue working and strengthening the commercial relationship, which in most cases did not exist. However, through this project, it was possible to get to know each other and start a business relationship for the future», he added.


Photos: Hugo Rodrigues | Sul Informação


André Gomes, president of Turismo do Algarve, also highlighted the networking that was done, considering that «it is worth working on collaborative projects and with the entities that were involved in Algarve Premium, with the aim of internationalizing the Algarve brand» .

«This is a visible result, especially with regard to the high number of companies that worked with us and benefited from the results of the project, with regard to the internationalization of the Algarve brand, our endogenous products and the nautical sector», he added.

The project «was also important in terms of passing on our culture and traditions to those who visit us».

«These projects are already the result of work between different institutions, namely RTA, NERA and CCDR Algarve, which raise a series of urgent questions. The Algarve, if it wants to move forward, must have a perspective on how to strengthen its economy and its competitiveness, while at the same time not being able to stop worrying about sustainability, as we are not talking about just any economy", he considered Vítor Neto, president of NERA.

The Algarve and its living forces still «have to further diversify the economy and better qualify the staff who work in its companies».

«I'm very pleased, because I think we've taken a step forward, towards more shared work between different entities. Projects are good if they have a positive result in terms of advancing our economy, society and companies», concluded Vítor Neto.

During the sessions on October 25th, in addition to presenting the Algarve Premium results, the future was also discussed.

«In my opinion, it was important that, in fact, this work was not interrupted and that this dynamic that was able to begin and consolidate throughout the execution of this project was continued in the, I would say, very near future. The closer it was, the better it would be», said Marco Vieira.

As far as the project that ended on October 31st is concerned, it benefited from financing from CRESC Algarve 2020, «which is practically in the final stretch of its completion». The director of NERA hopes that there may be funding opportunities to continue this work in Algarve 2030.

«Our idea is to cover other sectors of activity. For our part, we are available to do so, always aligned with RIS3, the Algarve's Intelligent Specialization Strategy. It is also important to qualify our companies on this topic of internationalization. A lot has already been done, but there is still a lot of work to do, to help our companies in these different sectors to better market their products and services abroad».

José Apolinário, president of the Algarve Regional Coordination and Development Commission, which manages community funds destined for the Algarve region, also participated in the session and guaranteed that the Algarve 2030 Regional Program "will continue to have money for projects of this type", but highlighted that the managing entity will “have to take a good look at how these funds are managed”.

Algarve Premium is a project promoted by NERA – Business Association of the Algarve Region, Algarve Tourism Association and the Algarve Tourism Region, co-financed by the CRESC Algarve 2020 Operational Program | Portugal 2020.


Photos: Hugo Rodrigues | Sul Informação



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