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Algarve Tourist Board boss slams oil licence extension

aljezuroilThe Algarve’s tourist board (RTA) has expressed "opposition and dissatisfaction" with the year’s extension of the license for the exploration of oil and natural gas.
 
The authority joins the Algarve’s mayors and five of the region’s top business groups, in condemning the government’s move to facilitate the Repsol-Partex consortium’s plan to start drilling off the Vicentina coast.
 
The RTA issued a statement today that states, "from the outset, it has shown its repudiation of the possible advance of a highly polluting and dangerous activity, namely the exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons."
 
As the Algarve has spent years in striving to become internationally recognised for the beauty of its beaches, the quality of its waters and its stunning landscapes, "this decision endangers these valuable assets, as well as the image and tourist awareness of the Algarve region," argues the RTA.
 
"The exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons on the Vincentian coast threatens the equilibrium of ecosystems, adversely affecting the quality of life of local populations and the natural environment of the region," explained Desidério Silva, president of the RTA.
 
"On behalf of the Tourism Authority, I reaffirm our clear position against the extension of this license, which undermines the tourist potential of the Algarve - the main tourist destination in the country. This decision is an attack on the Algarve brand and disregards the importance of Algarve tourism to the national economy. We hope that this decision soon will be repealed," added Silva.
 
The RTA also promises “to remain attentive to developments and makes clear its unconditional support to other regional entities such as mayors group AMAL and the five main Business Associations of the Algarve, in order to safeguard the future of the region.