After an “extremely positive” tourist year of 2023, the Algarve is already thinking about 2024

New route to the United States will open a direct route to a market that is “very important” for the region

Photos: Hugo Rodrigues | Sul Informação

New air routes, including a direct connection to the United States, high levels of occupancy and a record in the number of passengers at Faro These are some of the indicators that are making 2023 an “extremely positive” tourist year.

This was one of the messages delivered at the working meeting “Analysis of the Tourist Year – Expectations and Strategies for 2024”, which the Association of Hotels and Tourist Enterprises of the Algarve (AHETA) promoted last week, at its facilities, in Albufeira.

In the session, which brought together many businesspeople from the Algarve, but also those responsible for public entities and a member of the Government, the Secretary of State for Tourism Nuno Fazenda, an assessment was made of the 2023 tourist year, but also a projection of the future.

Regarding the performance of tourism in the Algarve, «we can say that, as a general rule, we are gaining our position, we are increasing results and we are increasing prices. I also hope that we are increasing quality by the same percentage that we are increasing prices", he told the Sul Informação Hélder Martins, president of AHETA, on the sidelines of the meeting.

«The balance [of the tourist year] is extremely positive, as I have had the opportunity to mention on other occasions. Although the assessments will only be made at the end of the year, we already have nine months that allow us to verify that, in fact, we are growing at all levels compared to last year", said, for his part, André Gomes, president of the Region of Turismo do Algarve, which was present at the event.

«In many of the indicators, we are also growing compared to 2019. Those where we are not growing, we are in line. This only demonstrates the growth potential that this region has demonstrated and the consolidation it has had, in terms of the international market, taking into account the demand for tourists, but also the new air connections, to new destinations, to new sending markets, that we are managing to capture», he added.

Without hiding that «there are always lessons to be learned from all performances», the person responsible for Algarve Tourism said that one of the phenomena that became clear was the change in behavior of Portuguese tourists.

«We had a national market visiting the region outside of the high season and even more times during the year. The national market ended up moving to the region more than once a year and this was clearly reflected in the rates we are having both in season [intermediate season], or in the low season».

Between January and May, recalls André Gomes, the Algarve had «months with double-digit growth compared to the national market». On the other hand, the region continues to be «the main holiday destination for the Portuguese».

«I think it's perfectly understandable that, with the summer period being the one with longer holidays, some Portuguese decided to revisit some destinations they already visited before the pandemic, now that they are completely safe, as our destination demonstrated in the immediate post-pandemic period. », he added.

Thinking about the near future, both André Gomes and Hélder Martins highlighted the direct flight to New York, in the United States, which will begin in 2024 and they consider it to be a victory for the region.

«AHETA's priorities are the partnerships with the Tourism Region, with ATA and the Airport, to capture new routes and be able to cement these routes that are now on the table, such as that of the United States, which is a fundamental market, but which must be accompanied by a qualification of tourism», defended Hélder Martins.

Recalling that «the tourist tax is coming in» and that one of the arguments used by the mayors to implement it was the improvement of the conditions of public space and services, also thinking about those who visit the region, the president of the Algarve business association said that «it is good that this is done, because the American customer is different from others we have».

«This is a client that demands cultural offerings and quality at the destination. And if we, with this effort from everyone, managed to guarantee a direct flight, if things don't go well, they will divert the route from one moment to the next", he warned.

«It was very difficult, we worked for years for it, but we achieved it. Now, the most difficult thing is to maintain this path and increase, as was done with Canada. And, in addition to the flight to the United States, there is also a direct connection to the Azores, which also allows Canadians and Americans to be brought in.”, he reinforced.

André Gomes highlighted «the enormous growth potential» of the North American market, which «will continue to be a strong bet».

«The first step is to get the routes. The second is to structure our offer with a level of quality that really makes these tourists come to the region and consolidate the routes themselves, even extending them in terms of the period in which they take place», concluded the president of Tourism from the Algarve.




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