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Faro to Morocco ferry will need state support

tangiersharbourThe long talked about ferry route between the Algarve and Morocco has a ferry company interested and financial support promised by the Tangier region tourist boss.

There is one catch, equivalent support funds need to be provided by the Portuguese, most likely Faro council or the Algarve's regional tourism board.

The director of the Tangier-Tétouan tourist board, Abdelghani Ragala, said he is willing financially to support the new route as long as the same level of support is forthcoming from Portugal.

An Algarve to Morocco ferry service was scrapped 20 years ago and discussions to revive the sailings so far have amounted to nothing despite many trade missions each way, much discussion and gallons of mint tea.

The new route could be served by a fast catamaran and would take five hours on a calm day, according to one potential operator, Intershipping, whose directors want substantial funding guarantees before going to the trouble of setting up the route’s operational infrastructure.

A report in Sul Informação alluded to the twinning of Faro with Tangiers in 1985. A long line of Faro mayors have thought the idea a fine one and worthy of much discussion over the years.

Abdelghani Ragala said to Sul Informação, “We have been working on this possibility for a while now, with the heads of Algarvian bodies, especially Faro council, as we have important economic links with the Algarve. Portuguese companies operate in northern Morocco the many tourists come here from or via the Algarve.”

The Moroccan tourism chief explained that many of his countrymen "holiday in the south of Spain but that they want to discover the Algarve as it has an abundance of apart-hotels which interest them.

"As well as tourists there is a great potential for commercial traffic. Both sides will benefit.”

According to the optimistic tourism boss, the ferry crossing could be operational in 18 months to two years time.

If a project requires subsidies to be viable, it is not viable. Unless there is a social or political need for taxpayers to fund this route, it well may still be a subject of conversation for years to come.



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