Algarve Walking Season was “reactivated” to promote Algarve walking festivals

New management of Algarve Tourism has invested in the reactivation of this network and the joint promotion of the four hiking festivals in the Algarve

Photos: Elisabete Rodrigues | Sul Informação

It never disappeared, but it had been dormant for years. Now, Algarve Tourism has decided to breathe new life into the Algarve Walking Season (AWS) brand, to give another dynamic to the promotion of the network that brings together the four walking festivals that take place in the Algarve.

The "reactivation" of AWS was announced this Monday, February 19th, at a press conference that also served to lift the veil on the four events that belong to the network: Caminheiros, Alcoutim and Sanlúcar de Guadiana, Walking Ameixial Festival (Loulé), the Walk & Art Fest in Barão de São João (Lagos) and the Monchique Walking Festival.

This “rebirth” took place at the initiative of the executive committees of the Algarve Tourism Region and the Algarve Tourism Association, which are both chaired by André Gomes.

«There was an unequivocal desire to once again clearly invest in this segment and in this brand that brings together four festivals, which are organized in the region throughout the year and which provide precisely that: motivation to visit the region throughout the year, particularly during the season. low, thus combating seasonality», explained André Gomes.

As revealed during the session by João Ministro, coordinator of the Algarve Walking Season network and responsible for organizing the Ameixial Walking Festival - the oldest in the Algarve -, «more than 3 thousand people are expected, in the four festivals, in 2024», a number that is “very conservative”, since, he believes, there will be much higher demand.

The same happens with the planned activities, in the set of four events, which will be «more than 200», including «walks, workshops, conversations, local artistic interventions, musical moments, among others».


André Gomes – Photo: Hugo Rodrigues | Sul Informação


Promoting this global offer in the Algarve, at the level of hiking festivals, was one of the main reasons for the creation of AWS, who was born in 2018, the result of an application to the “Valorizar” program, from Turismo de Portugal, funding that, however, no longer exists, causing the network to fade away.

Even without external financing, André Gomes decided to invest in this brand again, using resources from Algarve Tourism. «We are not talking about a very large investment, we are talking about something in the order of ten thousand euros, but they make a difference».

Especially because it is not about supporting “organizational costs”, but rather an effort to promote these events, organizing “press-trips, fan-trips, bringing international operators, international journalists to our region, who will have the unique opportunity to experience not only these walks, but also to have contact with the territory here», during the four festivals.

On the other hand, participation is planned «in specific Nature Tourism events, particularly in central and northern Europe, which are clearly markets more suited to this type of offer».

After all, recalls the president of Algarve Tourism, the hiking segment is «in rapid growth» in Europe, where there are «more than 400 million practitioners». The sector has an estimated economic impact of “40 billion euros”, said André Gomes, citing figures from the European Walking Association.

«By 2030, it is estimated that the impact of the segment could grow by 40%, to 60 billion euros», he added.


João Minister - Photo: Hugo Rodrigues | Sul Informação


It is to position itself and try to assert itself in this “desirable” market that the four Algarve walking festivals have come together as a network, under the brand Algarve Walking Season.

«It makes sense, because we can give festivals another leverage here. In other words: each festival promotes itself, but we managed to bring the four together and we managed to have subject matter and material to be constantly, every week if necessary, promoting things from the Algarve, as a whole», considered João Minister .

Networking also allows you to gain scale. «I would even say that, in this sense, the Algarve is the main region in the country for hiking. There is no longer any region in the country that has a network and a brand that brings together several festivals,” he added.

During the session, the veil was also lifted regarding the 2024 editions of the four AWS hiking events.

The first will be Caminheiros – Alcoutim and Sanlúcar Hiking Festival, scheduled for March 15th, 16th and 17th.

This year, as Júlio Cardoso, from Alcoutim City Council and coordinator of the festival, explained during the session, Caminheiros will once again only take place on one weekend and in the month of March.

In total, «12 walks are planned», but there will also continue to be «a strong focus on experiences», namely activities linked to Algarve goats, beekeeping, bread making and astronomical observation.

In Ameixial, the party takes place on the 26th, 27th and 28th of April. In this year's edition, in addition to dozens of walks – one at night, on Friday, the 26th, twenty on Saturday and 15 on Sunday – there will also be workshops, educational activities and entertainment. In the field of accommodation, Glamping is once again available.

From the 1st to the 3rd of November, art and hiking once again go hand in hand at the Barão de São João Hiking Festival, which once again features dozens of activities, mostly hiking, but also many linked to the arts and think about families, as revealed by Anabela Santos, from Almargem, who organizes this festival.

Finally, between the 29th of November and the 1st of December, the Monchique Walking Festival will take place, the youngest of the events.

Helena Martiniano, councilor of the Monchique Chamber, highlighted the water-themed walks, but also those linked to experiences, during which «you go in search of mushrooms, edible plants» or get to know the olive oil cycle and heritage local.



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