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Your Algarve News Highlights - January 6th 2024

Your Algarve News Highlights - January 6th 2024

Dear Reader,


Happy New Year to you!

Here is your weekly news overview…

Tourism: overnight stays hit a new historic high in Portugal

AL establishments continue to attract tourists, registering 10.8 million overnight stays in 2023 up until November, a new historic high.

Throughout 2023, Local Accommodation (AL) gave a lot to talk about, with the Government claiming that this short-term home rental business contributes to the rise in housing prices in the country, it decided to tighten the clampdown on the activity with Mais Habitação, a package that came into force on October 7th. Despite the controversies, AL establishments continued to attract Portuguese and foreign tourists to such an extent that, one month before the end of the year, a historic maximum of 10.8 million overnight stays in these accommodations has already been recorded in 2023.


As  Idealista reported in a summary, Local Accommodation was in the “eye of the storm” of the Government throughout the year, which even ended up implementing several measures that restrict the activity. In Mais Habitação, for example, an extraordinary contribution of 15% was included on AL located on the coast; the obligation to prove that the AL is in activity in order to maintain a license until 2030 (then renewable every 5 years); or even the suspension of new AL licenses for high-density territories.


Despite AL in Portugal being surrounded by controversy, tourists continued to choose this type of tourist accommodation to spend the night in Portugal. Specifically, these temporary accommodations – such as houses, apartments, hostels, among others, with 10 or more beds – recorded around 10.7 million overnight stays between January and November 2023. And this value actually constitutes a historic maximum in the series National Institute of Statistics (INE) dating back to 2013, even considering total overnight stays in previous years (i.e., from January to December).


Analyzing the annual overnight stays in AL since 2013, it can be seen that they have always increased year after year, reaching 10.2 million overnight stays in 2019 – which until now was the maximum value recorded. Then, in 2020, activity fell due to the Covid-19 pandemic and then gradually recovered in the following two years, registering 9.3 million overnight stays in AL establishments at the end of last year.


Having said that, everything indicates that, although 2023 was the year in which Local Accommodation raised the most controversy and concerns, it was also the moment in which it attracted more foreign and Portuguese tourists to stay overnight in Portugal.


It is important to remember that, according to the INE definition, local accommodation (AL) includes various types of short-term tourist accommodation, such as houses, apartments, accommodation establishments (including hostels). And it also includes guesthouses, hostels, motels and inns previously classified as “Other tourist accommodation”. “Only local accommodation establishments with 10 or more beds are considered, in accordance with the statistical threshold set out in  EU Regulation 692/2011 ”.



Train strike means 65% of scheduled trains were suspended

The strike by Infraestruturas de Portugal (IP) workers today led to the cancellation of 284 trains out of 438 scheduled (64.8%) by Comboios de Portugal, between 00:00 and 10:00h.


Workers at Infraestruturas de Portugal (IP) are on the second and final day of an intercalary strike, with minimum services having been decreed.


In a note sent to Lusa  news agency about the impacts of this strike on CP, the company states that in the urban connections of Lisbon, of the 215 planned, 146 were removed, and in the long-distance connections, 25 were scheduled and 19 were removed.


The company also indicates that of the 438 trains scheduled, 154 were carried out, all with minimum services.


On Tuesday, the first day of the strike, 798 trains were suspended, out of an estimated total of 1,086, with only the minimum services being carried out between 00:00 and 19:00, according to CP.


The president of Aprofer – Trade Union Association of Railway Command and Control Professionals, Adriano Filipe, told Lusa on Tuesday that the strike, which covers IP operations, command, control, information, circulation management and railway conservation workers , is related to the working conditions and salaries of the profession.


“The reasons for this strike are the sam as the strike that had been called for September 2022”, he recalled, indicating that IP had committed to negotiating an agreement, but this has not happened since then.


On strike days, minimum services are guaranteed, with Alfa Pendular and Intercidades, Regional, InterRegional and International, Porto Urban Trains, Coimbra Urban Trains and Lisbon Urban Trains expected to circulate.



Faro Volunteer Firefighters welcome a new four-legged member of the crew

The Volunteer Firefighters of Faro-Cruz Lusa have proudly announced on their Facebook page the addition of a new member to the corporation - Sky the dog will become “a vital part of our corporation”, say the firefighters.


“It is with great excitement that we announce the arrival of the newest member of our Fire Department: Sky the dog. She will be trained and will be ready to help with games at the barracks, bringing a valuable contribution to our missions of pampering and tenderness”, reads the post published on Facebook.


 The Faro-Cruz Lusa Volunteer Fire Department thanked everyone for their continued support and said, “we are confident that Sky will become a vital part of our corporation”.


“We cannot fail to thank those who actively contributed to the arrival of Sky, a huge thank you to DreamVet, for their commitment to this task, not only but also for the offer they made in the form of food and medicine. Thank you to Tiago for entrusting us with the custody of our Sky."



Algarve: Desalination plant is not a magic fix to drought

The environmental association Zero have warned that the amount of water produced by the desalination plant planned for the Algarve is almost equal to that lost in the supply systems, and does not guarantee the resilience of public supply in the region.

Zero and Almargem - Association for the Defense of the Cultural and Environmental Heritage of the Algarve - took a public position on the project and expressed doubts that the new desalination station would make an “effective contribution” to “guaranteeing the resilience of public supply " in the region.

The Algarve Seawater Desalination Station (EDAMA) is expected to be built in Albufeira, with funding from the Recovery and Resilience Program (PRR), with public consultation on the project's Environmental Impact Study (EIA) ending on December 19 .

In a statement, the associations considered that water losses in the Algarve's supply systems are equivalent to what will be produced by EDAMA and expressed “great reservations regarding the real contribution of the project” to ensure, in addition to the resilience of the public supply, an “availability of water for current and future consumption”.

“For these two associations, the documents under public consultation do not properly justify the need for the project”, said Zero and Almargem in their public position, to which the Lusa agency had access.

The documents under consideration in the EIA consultation “leave out” of the analysis the “water needs for public supply, current and future”, and the “characterization of current origins, competing uses and predictable scenarios, taking into account the hierarchy of uses and of the project’s contribution to meeting these needs”, he warned.

Nor are the “impacts that the increase in water supply for the urban sector will have on other uses”, such as irrigated agriculture, as well as those that result “from the increase in the price of water, whether for consumers or for the entities managing supply services that operate in the region”, he added.

Zero and Almargem asked for an in-depth assessment of the project's evaluation process, arguing that there are 19 entities in the Algarve responsible for water supply – such as municipalities and municipal companies or service concessionaires – with “real losses in the distribution networks” exceeding 13 million cubic meters (13 cubic hectometers), while the planned desalinated water supply will be, “on average, 12.5 cubic hectometers per year”.

“This will jeopardize the fulfillment of the objective of strengthening the water resilience of the Algarve’s supply system and guaranteeing the current and future water needs of the public supply if there is no effective effort to increase the efficiency of the supply networks”, sustained.

The associations also argued that, in addition to the desalination plant, the Algarve Regional Water Efficiency Plan (PREHA) foresees around 44 million euros of investment for the rehabilitation of 125 kilometers of water supply network in decline, “contributing to a reduction in two cubic hectometers in the demand for water in natural systems”, but this only represents “just over 15% of the current real losses of the system”.

They also criticized the lack of analysis of the costs that the production of desalinated water will have on the tariffs charged to final consumers and “the economic-financial balance of the entities managing supply services”, which can be “10 times higher than that of traditionally produced water” and “sharply increase tariffs”.

Zero and Almargem also expressed reservations regarding the mitigation of climate change, because the photovoltaic solar energy system planned to reduce the impact of the desalination plant “only covers 14% of the energy needed, with the remainder of the energy coming from the public grid”, with the consequent increase in greenhouse gases. Source Lusa



Tolls on the A22 go down

According to a Government order, tolls for the A22 and other motorways will be reduced by up to 30% for light vehicles, from January 1st 2024.


According to the Government, these new discounts cover sections and sub-sections of highway 22 (former SCUT do Algarve or Via do Infante), highway 23 (in Beira Interior), highway 24 (in the Northern Interior) and highway 25 (in Beira Litoral). /Beira Alta).


They also now have the same conditions for reducing toll rates on the ex-SCUT do Interior roads, sections and subsections of highway 4 (A4) Transmontana and Túnel do Marão and highways 13 (A13) and A13-1, in Pinhal Interior.


The Ministry of Territorial Cohesion (MCT) reported that the reduction is around 30% compared to prices in force at the end of 2023 for light vehicles and 22.6% for freight and passenger transport during the day.


At night, weekends and holidays, freight and passenger transport maintain the same prices in force last year.



UK Driving Licenses: New bilateral agreement comes in to force

A new bilateral agreement between the UK and Portugal on the mutual recognition and exchange of driving licences officially came into force on 31st December 2023.


This means that if you are resident in Portugal and hold a full and valid driving licence issued in the UK or Gibraltar, you can:

  • drive in Portugal on your current licence until it expires, provided you have registered your licence with IMT (see below)
  • exchange your licence for a Portuguese one without needing to take a test

Registering your UK or Gibraltar driving licence


To continue driving in Portugal as a resident, you must register your driving licence with the IMT. You must do this within 60 days of the issue date on your residence certificate, or immediately if you have already been in Portugal for more than 60 days.


We are aware that guidance on the IMT website about registering licences currently refers only to EU driving licences. IMT have advised that they will be updating their online guidance for UK and Gibraltar licences. Updated guidance will be linked here once available.

Exchanging your UK or Gibraltar driving licence


To exchange your UK or Gibraltar driving licence for a Portuguese one:

  • go to the IMT portal
  • fill out the form and submit with the necessary documents


We are aware that guidance on the IMT website about exchanging licences currently refers only to EU driving licences. IMT have advised that they will be updating their online guidance for UK and Gibraltar licences. Updated guidance will be linked here once available.


As part of the exchange process, you will need to get a certificate of authenticity from the DVLA or get a check code and share this with IMT. For licences issued by Northern Ireland, use the NI Direct website. For licences issued by Gibraltar, check with the DVLD.


You do not need to take a test. If your licence was originally issued in another country and then exchanged for a UK licence, check with IMT about test requirements for exchange.


Licences which expired not more than 2 years before being presented for exchange, and licences which have been lost or stolen, are eligible for exchange. If you apply to exchange an expired, lost or stolen licence, you cannot drive until your exchange has been completed.


When you exchange your driving licence, you will be issued with a ‘guia’ (temporary driver’s permit) which you can use to drive until your new licence arrives.


If you have any questions about the exchange process, check the IMT website or contact IMT.


For more information you can visit the Gov.uk website.


More news next week!




The News this week is sponsored by Portugal Pathways:

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Ultimate Beneficial Owner Registration in Portugal

The UBO registration, which, in Portugal, is called “Registo Central do Beneficiário Efectivo” (RCBE), is part of a major legal frame that aims to reduce money laundering and financing of terrorist activities. The Portuguese law transposes an EU directive on this subject, so this is, in fact, EU law.



Lagoa Kids Rugby Club... come and give it a try!?

Training re-starts in Lagoa next Thursday, 11th January at 17.30h. Rugby promotes respect, discipline, personal development and team ethics, which are skills that kids need to get through life... why not give it a try!?



Music in the Algarve & Lisbon

Many of us, expatriates, love classic music. In Lisbon there are theatres with excellent acoustics, such as the Gulbenkian and São Carlos. Some churches have very good acoustics and excellent organs, such as S.Vicente de Fora. They are used very often.



SNAPSHOT! Art and Photography news from the Algarve - January 2024


Welcome to our brand-new January 2024 edition. Here's a sneak peek of what's inside for you this month:



Currency Market Update - 2nd January 2024



Pound Sterling starts 2024 in the mid-1.15’s against the EUR and mid-1.27’s against the USD, with the main focus this month centered around inflation releases for Europe, United States & The United Kingdom. The markets have prior to Christmas, been fully pricing in Interest Rate cuts for at some point between March & May.




New Markets - New Ideas

Togofor Homes Lda. is a licensed real estate agency (AMI 6902) successfully selling properties throughout the Algarve since 2005 and recently expanding into the Alentejo. When the company was founded, the concept was to serve the entire Algarve and open offices in the most important metropolitan areas, so beginning with a small office in Alvor, and a team of 3, the company has continually evolved to match the growing real estate market.



São Bras de Alportel: Serene Villa For Sale

Indulge in the pinnacle of sophistication -  two bedroom, three bathroom detached villa spanning 136m2, featuring an outdoor swimming pool and a 1,434m2 garden.



Golfe Santo Antonio Resort: Spacious 3 bedroom villa with private pool and sea views

A fabulously stylish 3 bedroom villa with private swimming pool, sea views and extended internal space makes this property an absolute gem in the heart of the popular golf resort of Parque da Floresta.



Happy New Year from Vernon Real Estate!

We wish you and your loved ones a Happy New Year & would like to thank all our clients, friends and family for their continued support and trust.



For sale, 2+1 bedroom villa in Vale de Milho, Carvoeiro

This single storey, detached villa with pool is located in sought after area close to Vale de Milho golf and Centeanes beach, on the outskirts of Carvoeiro village.



Spacious 4 bed villa with pool, garage and sea views, only a short stroll to Carvoeiro beach

This single storey, detached villa with pool is located in sought after area close to Vale de Milho golf and Centeanes beach, on the outskirts of Carvoeiro village.



Detached 6 Bedroom Villa For Sale In Tor, Loulé

Nestled in the quaint village of Tor, just a short 10-minute drive from Loulé, this generously spacious six-bedroom villa epitomizes tranquility and charm. Surrounded by picturesque country vistas, the property seamlessly combines modern elegance with the peaceful ambiance of its natural surroundings.



5 Bedroom Townhouse in Barão de São João, offering flexible living

A unique and charming 5 bedroom property nestled within the picturesque village of Barão de São João, near Lagos, this charming property offers the perfect blend of traditional Portuguese architecture.




Castro Marim Golf Club Charity Golf Day Fundraiser - Jan 26th 2024

Castro Marim Golf Club and the Somos Esperança Associação de Solidariedade Charity invite you to a Charity Golf Day Fundraiser on January 26th 2024, to raise funds to care for and feed the homeless in Olhão.



The Rise of Monumentality in Eastern Amazonia and its link with the local Neolithization Process

On Tuesday 9th January, the Algarve Archaeological Association (AAA) will be presenting two lectures, in English, by Archaeologist Dr João Saldanha. The first lecture will be at 2.30pm at the Museu do Traje in São Bras de Alportel, the second lecture will be at 6pm at the Convento de São José in Lagoa.



FELIZ ANO NOVO from Castelo de Sonhos

The Silves based family charity Castelo de Sonhos would like to send a huge THANK YOU to everyone who participated in the 19th Christmas Shoebox Campaign for the Elderly. A record of over 300 boxes were donated, which meant that the Castelo de Sonhos volunteers were able to distribute boxes to local care homes and to elderly patients at Barlavento Hospital (via the Associação Elos de Esperança), and also to the Algarve Emporium charity in Guia.




To see more info about events coming up in the next few weeks, check out

My Guide Algarve's event calendar


For latest information and advice regarding crime, wildfires and the Covid-19 pandemic, visit the

Safe Communities Portugal website


Everything you need to know if you are moving to, living in or visiting the Algarve.

AngloInfo website


‍Have a great week, from the Algarve Daily News team!


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