BPI bank brings together over 120 Algarve businesses to debate sustainable tourism

bpi debateThis Monday BPI brought together more than 120 managers and entrepreneurs from Algarve businesses to discuss the challenges of sustainable tourism, capturing new markets and combating seasonality.

The “BPI Business Meetings” initiative is running across the country in order to strengthen the bank’s proximity to businesses and institutions.

Led by the coordinating director of BPI's Lisbon and Southern Corporate and Institutional Banking department, João Patrício, the discussion panel included Vitor Aleixo, Mayor of Loulé, Carlos Baía, Faro City Councillor of Tourism, Nuno Alves, from Portugal Tourism, João Fernandes, from Algarve Tourism, and Frederico Costa, from the Pestana group.  

“You cannot bet on economic growth without taking care of the finitude of resources”, emphasized the Mayor of Loulé, Vítor Aleixo. Rethinking tourism, beyond the conventional, from a broad perspective of the Algarve region, was a common thread of the conversation about the sector that generates more wealth in the region.

The mayor shared his enthusiasm for a current project he has under development with the municipalities of Silves and Albufeira, which aims to recognize this territory of the interior of the Algarve as a World Geopark, with a UNESCO seal of approval.

"Nature tourism, or linked to the cultural and anthropological tradition of the Algarve, can be an important tool for wealth generation linked to tourism activity in the interior."

In the same vein, Faro City Councilman Carlos Baía presented the work of his local council in contributing to a more sustainable Algarve in terms of being a holiday destination. He stressed the need to “safeguard Ria Formosa's carrying capacity”, and focused on local council housing as “a factor of territorial cohesion, also emerging in the interior territories and contributing to its development and enhancement.”  

The panel also tackled the seasonal nature of tourism in the Algarve. "Seasonality is a theme that has been with us for many years, but fortunately it has been attenuated recently," said João Fernandes, from Algarve Tourism. "Tourism itself must be an active agent in reducing seasonality and territorial cohesion through the diversification of supply, building resources that generate new motivations for visiting the region," he added.  

Nuno Alves, from Portugal Tourism, referred to the environmental, social and economic sustainability objectives integrated in the region’s tourism strategy leading up to the year 2027, and how the recent distinction of Portugal as the Best Sustainable Destination in Europe was a validation of the work done so far by Portugal Tourism and small businesses alike.  

On capturing new markets and closing the panel, Frederico Costa, administrator of the Pestana Group, focused on the importance of airlines in bringing tourism to the region, and, before working on new resources in the Algarve, exploring marketing campaigns in regions of Germany and England, the countries of strongest origin for Algarve tourists, to draw in larger numbers.

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