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Algarve's Autodrome put forward for 'Irresponsible Tourism Development' award

autodromeThe Janela Aberta 21, Sustainable Development Education Centre based in Monchique has submitted an application to the 'Visions on Innovation for Sustainable Tourism Awards' citing the Autódromo do Algarve as an example of bad practice and environmentally damaging economic activity.

In the VISTAwards, good practice is praised and bad practice is damned for those nominated tourism-related, irresponsible businesses running the projects that have been submitted.

Bad practice might be a piece of unjust government policy, poor governance, inappropriate property or destination development, corporate greed, harmful environmental business services/practices, oppressive and unfair social behaviour, unsustainable use of technology, etc... The VISTAwards covers all comers.

The application represents the most in depth analysis of the impact that the Autódromo do Algarve has had on the local environment, for such little economic benefit.


"The Autódromo Internacional do Algarve race track, development park and tourism resort has been built in the buffer zone of a Natura 2000 area, in prime Iberian lynx and Bonelli’s eagle habitat, mainly to fulfil the wishes of a small consortium of local business people, rather than through any sustainability land management process.

The business has been operating without having implemented key aspects of noise reduction design features, which means the events exceed legal noise limits and can be heard in a 10km radius, depending on wind direction, disturbing an estimated 5000 plus residents in the vicinity.

There is a process of green-washing the project going on, with alternative energy investments being used to provide a sustainability cloak to otherwise economically, environmentally and socially irresponsible, elitist construction, leisure and tourism businesses.

€200 million has been invested, €40 million of which came through national to regional funding channels, promising thousands of jobs and businesses which have not materialised.

From concept to implementation there has a pattern of financial and organisational mismanagement leading to poor building quality and non-completion of key design elements."

The application for the VISTAward for 'Irresponsible Tourism Development' continues and explains in detail the many aspects of this complex project.

For VISTAwards Spotlight on Irresponsible Tourism, see:


For the .pdf of the detailed report on the Autodrome ,


 See also: http://www.vistawards.com/

and for other articles on the Autodrome, see




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-1 #13 Vic 2018-06-14 10:51
Utter rubbish should have been stopped before it began.
-1 #12 Vic 2018-06-14 10:50
Any thing that is built like this monstrosity is just for greed and idiots to enjoy at the expense of others. Nature , neighbours who live within the radius and hate noise and animals who live there should have been able to have stopped it dead. A complete disgrace should be reinvented immediately and developed into a much more eco friendly new and 21st century style with good intelligent minds at the helm.
-2 #11 Mark Craven 2014-12-28 11:54
Hi Desmond.

You are obviously concerned about a lot of issues. Most of which i can not comment about or are qualified to pass judgement. I have followed this project since 2007. Having a passion for Motorsport and a small but vested interest in the Algarve.

If the money is found to finish this project. It will not fail. As an Engineer i understand what is needed to
make perfection . My other half on the other hand has kittens every time i set out on a new venture.

For the sake of the Algarve and all the Investors involved . i hope a solution will be found. As for the
lack of experience of the management. I beg to differ. Since day one they have held a world championship Event in World Super Bike . They are
not resting on there lorales but are serching out events to fill the calender for the season ahead.

The problem is the 2 biggest events in Motorsport are at present not on the calender.. These 2 events
are what is needed. But make no mistake you are dealing with Global Heavy weights here.
All the best. Mark..
+1 #10 DesP 2014-12-28 09:51
This may be a lovely track for drivers, few doubt that. Financially is a basket case.

The problems are 1. the obligatory noise restrictions do not exist with the track promoting itself as a 24/7 venue.

2. The noise suppression aspects were not installed.

3. there are grave suspicions over the sources of the funding with public funds paying for a private project (ref: Portimao Urbis)

4. the authorisation rode roughshod through the planning rules that the rest of us have to adhere to.

5. The financial plan, esp. income projections were seriously flawed and run by a manager with zero experience but with political contacts.

Therefore, every month that goes by public money now is supporting a private, loss making enterprise.

Had the project, when it went bust, been offered to a private buyer, who would have stepped forward to buy a track in the far end of nowhere unless it was close to free?

The money sunk into this project is way beyond its market value, hence the annoyance over illicit state support being handed out - the taxpayer has enough to contend with without paying for one man's flight of fancy.
0 #9 Mark Craven 2014-12-28 09:00
Hi desmond.

By nature i am a petrol head. To qoute a famous actor, Racing is Life and everything before and after is just waiting. Having had a taiste of racing myself and building my own machines and team there after. I have some understanding .

I can see your point and i would not rule out the ethics of big buisness not being responsible for the slow progress. We can not change this. Dorma
control Moto GP. In the same way Bernie controls F1.
If you are right about the initial ethose behind these heavy weights. I guess the Curcuit will then be sold for a song and only then will the investment be found to finish the job.

Make no mistake thou Desmond what ever the motivations behind the scenes. You have with out
doubt one hell of a race track there.
+1 #8 Desmond 2014-12-26 18:39
I am not against this racetrack specifically.

I am against any multi-million EU funded 'vanity' project that does not have local community support or their involvement in the planning and development stages. So that 2nd and 3rd use gets factored in - like the London Olympics stadium was always intended to be reused as a football stadium not left to rot like so many other ex-Olympic venues.

How about office and display gallery space for local businesses? A Motor museum. Incubators for new business? A campsite or hang gliding schoool on part of it ... that sort of thing.

The point being that far too many such projects in Portugal are driven just by a few regional heavyweights who give goody bags out to a few local heavyweights to keep them quiet.

However they usually never bung sufficient local heavyweights in the municipals, other land and business owners etc - who then feel left out and work against, say, finishing the infrastructure.

Or too much is lifted out / diverted ... and so the finish is sloppy or the good intentions for x,y and z in the plans never happen.

So who is stopping this one ?
-5 #7 Mark Craven 2014-12-26 07:03
Hi Desmond,

For me you would have to be very short sighted not to see what you have and the further potential it could bring if it would be allowed to.

Repsol pretty much carries the tab in Spain for all things motorsport. Maybe the Italian oil giant that is about to set up of your coast would support motorsport in portugal.?
+9 #6 Desmond 2014-12-25 10:01
run by some very powerful men.....

this is the killer comment here ! Why are we attempting to justify a racetrack - still hopelessly under used and with no chance of paying back - when there was no independent professional market research done to prove it was needed there. Or anywhere in the Algarve ?

Far too many euro funded investments in Portugal are nothing more than vanity projects and a chance to trouser shedloads of money for doing very little.

If Portugal had investigative journalists all they need do when investigating any Portuguese vanity project - is go to the Conservatoria and buy a copy of the before and after land sale documents.

Noting how the value of the land jumped by so much! And that the most recent land owners before the projects launch are coincidentally also the company directors today. Having sold the land to the company at xxxx millions !

But the scarcity of Portuguese investigative journalists in Portugal is no doubt down to the need to show some ID, of which a copy is taken and kept.

A brilliantly sinister way to stop any snooping !
-12 #5 Chip the Duck 2014-12-24 16:59
So it appears you largely agree with me Mark.

People are not flooding to this racetrack in an obscure corner of the western Algarve; in your view because it lacks International Racing but you don't know why, in mine because of its location. Either way it was an idiotic decision to build it then.
-3 #4 Mark Craven 2014-12-24 16:06
Hmm i cant beleave you guys cant see what you have .That is one hell of a race track, The location is not the problem. The problem is the lack of top International Racing. This does not come cheap. Thats if you can get them there. The traveling curcus, as i like to think of it . Is run by some very powerful men. It took a lot of guts and vision to build that Race Track. I can not understand why moto gp still races in the north of portugal? maybe there lies your answear!

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