The Algarve’s regional tourist organisation (Região Tourismo do Algarve) “has missed the chance during the summer of informing tourists what’s going on in the region during the winter, including the 365 Algarve winter programme,” according to the founder of Cultugarve.
After investigating what was available in tourist information offices this summer, regarding the winter programme, this was the conclusion made by Cultugarve’s investigators.
“There were no advertisements or flyers that could be handed out at the local tourist offices across the Algarve,” the founder confirmed.
A video was made inside one of the tourist offices as an investigator asking local employees about the lack of information.
In 2011, Portugal received a ten-year grant from the EU of €175 million for a project to attract tourists to Portugal during the wintertime to mitigate the effects of seasonality.
In the Algarve, winters are mild compared to the rest of Europe and the money was to be used to promote the region and its various out-of-season activities and events.
“The RTA, which is in charge of this project, appears not to see the importance of informing tourists when they are here. Portugal had a growth of almost 20% in tourism this summer. If there was an opportune time to inform tourists, it was this summer,” says Cultugarve’s founder.
In a short video taken inside a tourist office, it’s clear to see employees saying they have asking the RTA head office for information on the winter programme but have not received any hand-outs. One of the employees stated that they have to write information themselves on pieces of paper to hand out when tourists come in to ask about winter activities.
Cultugarve had two meetings this year at the RTA’s Faro head office. One in January 2017 with Desidério Silva and three others, and another in May 2017 with Duarte Padrinha, director of operations, and miss Dalia Paulo, executive advisor of Culture within the RTA.
In both meetings, Cultugarve offered a free-of- charge co-operation to help the RTA publicise its 365 projects if the RTA publicised the Cultugarve programme of free events.
This ended up as a one-way deal with Cultugarve publicising 365 Algarve and the RTA doing nothing in return.
The next 365 Algarve programme runs from October 2017 to May 2018 managed and promoted by Turismo de Portugal and Região de Turismo do Algarve.
The 365 Algarve information website gives an events programme from February to May 2017 - which is not much use as these events have taken place.
The dedicated Facebook page shows one 365 Algarve event for October, some old events and lots of pictures of people in a picture frame.
This lack of cooperation between Portuguese entities and foreign owned initiatives also has been seen in Portimão where the council studiously has ignored offers of free events from Cultugarve, an Algarve region cultural foundation.