Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has no doubts: “we have to push forwards for the Algarve” and “fast”. This Monday, July 6, the President of the Republic was at a dinner with the mayors of the Algarve region, in Monte Gordo, in an initiative that came from the Head of State. With tourism in mind, Marcelo defended that “there is no reason for the Algarve to be harmed due to Covid-19. None".
Above all, this dinner served to hear the opinions of the local mayors, as well as the Tourism Board and hotel associations, at a time when the Algarve is struggling to get through an atypical summer. “We have to pull through the Algarve fast to start taking effect this year. They [the mayors] have ideas, not least because they spoke to the Secretary of State for Tourism, but I want to hear them all. As is evident, everything is important and we have to look ahead and fight, firstly, for tourism that comes from other sources,” said the President of the Republic in a speech on arrival, referring to the UK’s recent exclusion of Portugal from their safe travel list.
For Marcelo, the Algarve "deserves" to be chosen as a holiday destination, since it has "a public health condition that is of quality, compared to other regions and countries". Now, he defended, "it is necessary to be clear", both "in the spirit of the Portuguese", for whom there must be a "campaign" of promotion, as in that of "foreigners". As for those who come from outside Portugal, Marcelo confessed that “we have to recover them over time”. It is certain that the decision of the United Kingdom to exclude Portugal from the list of safe destinations for travel was a severe blow to the Algarve.
Asked if it is still possible to reverse the decision, the President of the Republic stressed that the United Kingdom "said that in July it will re-consider the decision". “After July, there is August, then September, then October and you know that one of the characteristics of the Portuguese climate in general, and the Algarve in particular, is that it is very welcoming until very late” in the year, he said. In other words: Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa hopes that this summer will lead on to “a good autumn” that can still attract tourists. António Pina, president of AMAL – Intermunicipal Community of the Algarve, explained to journalists what the mayors' great desires are mainly headed by the “reinforcement of diplomatic capacity.”
Taking the example of Ireland, which will also announce a list of safe countries to travel to, the AMAL leader said that "we need to be considered a safe country, because that will sway the UK's position".
The Czech Republic has also put Portugal on an identical list - recommending the trip -, which means in António Pina's opinion, it makes “all sense to be considered a safe destination”.
The Algarvian mayors also defend a boost "to funding, because it is necessary to do more promotion as a destination". "We have to try to make up for what we are going to lose, invest more in our communications and promotion, in places like the Iberian Peninsula, Germany, France or Belgium", he said.