Illegal street vendors in Praia do Peneco anger Albufeira businesspeople

Vendors are in cahoots with at least one bar located downtown, where they pick up drinks that they then deliver to customers on the beach

Peneco Beach, with the support of Rocaeach beach and the concession area – Photo: Elisabete Rodrigues | Sul Informação

«See? One of the people in the concession's umbrellas is already around to catch customers». João Guerreiro, administrator of Albufeira Hotel, the company that owns the Rocamar hotel, in front of Peneco beach, and the Rocabeach restaurant, on the beach, is tired of seeing illegal drink sellers go around, with complete ease, attracting customers, making unfair competition for your beach support.

The Rocaeach restaurant, on the sand of Praia do Peneco, was built half a dozen years ago, resulting from an investment of 700 thousand euros by the German company that owns the hotel located on top of the cliff.

For four years now, those responsible for the hotel unit have grown tired of seeing street drink sellers walking along the beach, especially among the sun loungers and parasols in the concession area, collecting orders from bathers and then leaving the beach to pick them up. drinks at a bar in downtown Albufeira.

«At first, they brought the drinks in Styrofoam boxes. But later, as they began to be caught by the authorities, they started using a tray and a notepad. They get there, take the customers' orders, point to the pad. Then they go to that bar to get the drinks and bring them on a tray. If they are caught, they even say that they are for them», describes João Guerreiro.

O Sul Informação, who visited Praia do Peneco twice to see this situation, guarantees that the description given is in accordance with what is happening.

«I have already reported the situation to the authorities, namely the Captaincy, I have already spoken to councilor Ricardo Clemente, who is responsible for the Municipal Police, I have already spoken to the mayor. But the situation persists, year after year. And we, who made this investment of 700 thousand euros in beach support, are the ones who bear the loss of the business we lost. And we still have to keep our bathrooms open to the public…”, added the administrator.

João Guerreiro says that he has already lost count of the meetings he has had, with the Chamber, with the Captaincy, with the Maritime Police, with the GNR. «And everything remains the same!», he laments.

While the conversation takes place, on the terrace in front of the Rocamar hotel and overlooking Praia do Peneco, below, despite it not being the bathing season yet, there is a lot of hustle and bustle from illegal vendors on the beach. «See?», insists João Guerreiro. «It's called the Maritime Police, when they can, they come, when they can't, they don't come. But, when they get here and catch them, they talk to them, they leave and, the next minute, they are selling again. And here we are, watching it, without being able to do anything…”

And why doesn't Rocaeach have its employees do the same, bringing drinks to customers from the beach support? «We have already tried that, but they threaten our employees. They really threaten!”

The manager adds that it is not just the Rocamar hotel and its beach support that are affected by the situation. «Other businesspeople are being affected, because these illegal street vendors are ruining their business as well. In fact, they spoil everyone who is here by the beach, who pay their licenses and taxes». These are the cases of the Hotel Sol e Mar (from Grupo Barata), the restaurants Ruína, Túnel and Belo Farol, who, last year, even participated together in a meeting at Albufeira City Council, with the presence of the GNR commander.

«We have reached a saturation point where this has to be resolved: either I close the bathrooms and this beach no longer has a blue flag, because that is one of the necessary conditions. Or they make a decision properly! I no longer know who else I can turn to…», says João Guerreiro.


Hotel Rocamar, on top of the cliff in front of Peneco Beach – Photo: Elisabete Rodrigues | Sul Informação


O South Informationo spoke with Commander Pousadas Godinho, captain of the Port of Portimão, which has jurisdiction over the coast of Albufeira, and local commander of the Maritime Police. He also spoke with José Carlos Rolo, president of Albufeira Chamber.

«We have made an effort, at the level of the Maritime Police, but also with the Municipal Police, the GNR. All responsible entities have made an effort in terms of supervision, to, in some way, create constraints and eradicate this type of activity», guaranteed commander Pousadas Godinho.

However, he admitted, “it hasn't been easy for us, because it's impossible to have a police officer permanently on the beach. And, effectively, when the police appear, they disappear from the beach, leave and end up taking refuge somewhere else».

What about the lack of Maritime Police personnel, which businesspeople complain about, saying that it is one of the problems that prevent the authorities from acting more effectively?

“That problem doesn’t arise. What we are talking about is a large intervention area that does not allow for a police officer to be permanently on each of the municipality's concession beaches. Albufeira has around 40 licensed beaches, which makes it unfeasible to permanently have a police officer on each of them».

For this person in charge, the solution, which is slow to arrive, “relies on joint action between the various police forces and the municipality”. “Certainly, we should be able to restrict or even eradicate this problem,” he assured.

For his part, Mayor José Carlos Rolo regrets that the Chamber cannot do much, especially regarding activity on the beach. There, the City Council is today the licensing entity for the activities of sellers (such as those selling balls in Berlin), but has no supervisory powers. Not even the Municipal Police have one, since they can only work in land, just like the GNR. The responsibility for monitoring the beach lies with the Maritime Police.

But, highlighted President Rolo, «if they transport drinks to be consumed, we also have to have the Food and Economic Security Authority, ASAE, working here to verify the hygienic conditions in which everything takes place.

The mayor adds that, in relation to what happens outside the beach, the Municipal Police already have instructions to act.

José Carlos Rolo stated his solidarity with the injured businesspeople, admitting that what is happening in Praia do Peneco “is unfair”. These are, he added, “illegal economic acts, which are not fair for them to happen, since other entrepreneurs are legal and pay the necessary licenses, while these sellers and those who supply them carry out their activity without the necessary legalization”.

The Mayor of Albufeira also announced that, «probably next week», he will promote a meeting with «the various forces in partnership, to see if it is possible, in a systematized and parameterized way between the various organizations, to promote an action together in order to solve this problem”.

The administrator of the Rocamar hotel says he only believes it “when it happens”.




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