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Your Algarve News Highlights - March 23rd 2024

Your Algarve News Highlights - March 23rd 2024

Dear Reader,

 

Here is your weekly news overview…

Algarve hoteliers want to build social housing for workers

Hoteliers in the Algarve want to build housing for workers, to help combat the lack of labour in the tourism sector, so are asking the Government to make land available at affordable prices.

 

Speaking to Lusa news agency, Hélder Martins, the president of the region's largest hotel association (Association of Hotels and Tourist Enterprises of the Algarve - AHETA) regretted that the request "made repeatedly, for at least two years, to several ministers and secretaries of State, has not yet had any response".

"We have been asking for a pool of available land to be created that can be made available at acceptable, non-market prices, to build social housing for hotel employees", he said.

According to Hélder Martins, the lack of “decent and affordable housing is the first problem to combat the lack of labour in tourism and to retain talent in the region", which is struggling with the lack of workers in the sector. The objective “is to enable housing of various types to be built, outside areas of tourist influence, four or five kilometres away from the hotel, to be made available to employees”, he explained.

“Only in the last two years, I presented the proposal to several ministers and secretaries of State, but to date we have not received any response, despite everyone considering the proposal to be very good”, highlighted the businessman.

The AHETA leader considers that “this is the ideal time” to meet the hoteliers’ wishes, given that the review of municipal master plans (PDM), planning and territorial planning instruments, is underway.

The official said he hoped that the proposal, also presented to the parties during the electoral campaign, “can be followed up in the short term, as all parties have expressed their agreement”.

Solving the problem of the lack of housing in the Algarve has also become a priority strategy for hotel entrepreneurs, when recruiting labour for the sector, a problem that has been getting worse in recent years.

 

 

Ever wondered who owns the Castelo do Arade, Ferragudo?

This castle in Ferragudo is not one of the most famous monuments in the Algarve, but people often wonder about the history and who owns it now.

 

On the left bank of the Arade River, in Ferragudo, built on a small rocky slope that separates Praia da Angrinha from Praia Grande stands the Castle of São João do Arade, also known as Forte de São João do Arade, or Castelo do Arade. It was classified as a Property of Public Interest in 1974.

 

It is said that only a watchtower was initially built here, to guarantee a quick response to attacks by corsairs from northern Europe in the 15th century. The castle that stands there today was only built after the restoration of independence from Spanish rule, in 1640.

 

Vasco Pereira Coutinho, a Portuguese millionaire who made his fortune with AutoEuropa, is the current owner of this monument.

 

José Manuel Durão Barroso, former President of the European Commission, celebrated his second wedding at the castle. Portuguese millionaire businessman Diogo Pereira Coutinho also exchanged rings with the actress Sara Salgado here.

 

 

Portugal election: counting completed

The more than 1.5 million Portuguese registered voters living abroad had the final say in the outcome of the March 10 parliamentary election.

 

The overall tally, concluded this week, showed 28.84% for the centre-right Democratic Alliance (AD) and 28% for the centre-left Socialist Party (PS).  The turnout was 59.8%.

 

With the counting finished, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa  has appointed Luis Montenegro, leader of the Democratic Alliance as prime minister and asked him to form a new government.  The Democratic Alliance consists of the Portuguese Democratic Party (PSD) and two smaller parties.

 

The surge in voting for the far-right Chega party means it will play an unprecedented third-place role in the forthcoming National Assembly. Of the 230 seats, a majority would require 116. The DA secured 80, the PS 78, and Chega 50. 

 

According to data published by the Statista research organisation, roughly 65,000 Portuguese registered voters live in the United States and 57,000 in Canada. These are significant numbers compared with most in Portugal’s worldwide diaspora, but  far fewer than in France (396,000), Brazil  (259,000), the United Kingdom (170,000), and Switzerland (150,300).

 

The preferred option within the total of 10.9 million registered voters at home and abroad would have been a right-wing coalition government, but Montenegro has dismissed any notion of close collaboration with Chega.  A left-wing coalition was the second favourite, with an AD- PS coalition trailing well behind.

 

While a million voters are delighted that Chega quadrupled its seats in the Assembly since the 2022 election, this is causing grave concern among centrist and left-wing voters and parliamentarians.

 

The concern hinges on allegations - right or wrong - that Chega’s founder, Andre Ventura, is xenophobic and a racist. In the past he has harshly criticised the 50,000 Roma and 65,000 Muslim communities in Portugal .

 

Evilana Dias,  a board member with Portugal’s Association of African Descendants has long worked to quell racism in Portugal, and  has told Ashifa Kassam, European affairs correspondent  for the newspaper: “We had no idea that there were so many racists in Portugal. It’s like they were hidden.”

 

Others say that Chega’s remarkable gain is due to decades of socio-economic failure under the centrist governments. An Algarve voter, probably typical of many who voted for Chega, told us: “I am most certainly not a racist. I voted for Chega because Andre Ventura is a very strong, honest leader who is determined to stop corruption and stabilise the many issues that have been so badly mishandled in this country for years. We desperately need positive change and stability with more support for the police, doctors and nurses among others. Only Ventura and Chega can deliver that.”  

 

Apart from concerns over deteriorating living standards, public opinion polls all showed a lack of enthusiasm for both the new leader of the PS, Pedro Nuno Santos, and his centre-right counterpart.  Under Ventura, the far-right has quadrupled the number of its seats since the last election in 2022. Portuguese citizens living abroad will be very familiar with far-right parties as they have a powerful say in European democracies, including France, Germany, Italy, Hungary and Spain.

Written by Len Port

 

 

MotoGP expected to bring in 80 million euros for tourism sector

The president of Turismo do Algarve today estimated the economic impact of the Portuguese MotoGP Grand Prix, the second stage of the speed motorcycle World Championship, at around 80 million euros.

 

According to André Gomes, the economic estimate for this year “is identical to last year, which had a global impact of more than 79 million euros”, between direct and indirect revenues.

The MotoGP Grand Prix of Portugal, the second round of the World Championship, takes place this weekend between Friday and Sunday at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve (AIA), in Portimão, where around 180,000 spectators are expected over the four days, according to the organisers of the event.

For the president of the Algarve Tourism Region (RTA), the event “is extremely important for boosting the regional economy and for the international projection of the Algarve destination”.

According to André Gomes, in March 2023, the month in which the race took place, “it was the best March ever in terms of hotel occupancy”, with a record of 11% more than in 2019 and 14% more than 2022.

“It is a competition that takes place during the low season, contributing to the dynamics of the business and hotel sector which, at the moment, is almost at full capacity”, he pointed out.

According to André Gomes, the combination of MotoGP and Easter dates “ends up contributing to a longer stay” of tourists during this period, “with many people traveling to the Algarve earlier in order to watch the race”.

“In addition to tourists, events of this size attract thousands of people, including fans, members of the participating teams and the organization”, he concluded.

For his part, the director of the AIA, Paulo Pinheiro, told Lusa that around 180 thousand spectators are expected during the four days of the event, 50 thousand more than in the three days last year.

“This year we start on Thursday with the 'pit walk' and we have the debut of the MotoE World Championship, a competition exclusively for electric motorcycles”, he explained.

According to Paulo Pinheiro, the Portuguese Grand Prix “will be more complete and comprehensive, with several attractions, such as the raffle for a motorcycle and helmets at the end of the race, invasion of the track so that the public can share the race and be closer of pilots.”

“This year there are a number of initiatives, such as the celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the city of Portimão, the 75th anniversary of MotoGP and the 15th anniversary of the race track”, he noted.

The Portuguese MotoGP Grand Prix also has the participation of the Portuguese Navy and Air Force, with exhibitions from those branches of the Armed Forces outside the Algarve circuit, where you can see an amphibious vehicle and an Alpha-Jet subsonic fighter-bomber aircraft.

 

 

Award-winning Algarve dessert is created using cuttlefish

A new award-winning 'unexpected' dessert has been created by one of the students participating in the "Mar Mais Doce" competition, promoted by the Algarve Hotel and Tourism School.

 

"Choquinhos da Serra", the dessert that impressed the competition jury, was the result of a challenge set for Cuisine and Pastry students from across the Algarve region, to create a traditional dessert with ingredients from the sea and the Ria Formosa estuary.

 

Rafael Santos,The creation is a fusion by student Rafael Santos, using ttlefish, almond paste, carob, custard candy, holophyte plants, desalinated water, and cuttlefish ink.

 

Promoted by the Algarve Hotel and Tourism School, "Mar Mais Doce"  is an event that aims to support research and creation of work on local, regional and international gastronomy, and, in particular, gastronomy linked to seafood and of the Ria, particularly about its history, tradition, ancient and futuristic cooking techniques.

 

"There is a lot of talk about sustainability, but little is done differently. By using the wealth that the sea and the estuary offer us, we not only innovate Pastry, we also make better use of resources. This challenge was launched to all students at professional schools in the Algarve because a great idea can come from anyone, and that is what we want to inspire in these future professionals", says Mariline Pinguinha, Chef and Coordinator of the Pastry course at EHTA.

 

The grand final, held on March 18th at the Algarve Hotel and Tourism School, brought together the 5 best desserts, that were evaluated by a jury made up of renowned chefs and pastry chefs.
In addition to making the new recipe, the students had to create a 'storytelling' around their creation and explain where the inspiration came from to reach the final result.

 

«As a native of the Algarve and paying homage to my roots, I wanted to value our coast and also our interior of the Algarve. I started thinking about the region's typical sweets and memories came to mind of childhood flavours like Doce Fino do Algarve and Queijadinhas de Alfarroba. I decided to combine these two nostalgic flavours with elements of the sea, all in one delicacy. This is how Choquinhos da Serra was born," said Rafael Santos, the big winner.

 

After the success of the first edition of "Mar Mais Doce", the objective is for this initiative to be repeated in the coming years. The purpose will always be to encourage the creation and habit of applying elements from the sea in desserts so that Pastry can gain new horizons, through this more avant-garde approach.

 

 

Silves: Herdade da Parra National Forest trail opens

The Institute for the Conservation of Nature and Forests (ICNF) officially opened the new Herdade da Parra National Forest trail in Silves this Monday, a pedestrian route “to attract people” to the interior of the Algarve, through an area affected by the huge fire that broke out in Monchique in 2018.

 

With a length of 6.5kms and a circular route, the trail includes 10 observation points of flora, fauna, rest areas and a picnic area, in the Silves mountains. Hikers can observe native trees such as willows, strawberry trees and cork oaks along the route, and animal species such as deer, wild boar, Bonelli's eagle and the red partridge.

 

ICNF regional director Joaquim Castelão Rodrigues explained that, “the objective is to take people to the Algarve interior so they can enjoy nature, while at the same time contributing to the prevention of forest fires.”

 

The Trilho da Parra was born from an ICNF project, financed by the Environmental Fund to “give evidence to an environmentally rich area affected by fires”, in 2018 and 2023.

 

In 2018, fire consumed around 60% of the 806 hectares of the Herdade da Parra National Forest, destroying several species of native trees and animals, including deer and red partridge.

 

According to Snr Rodrigues, after the 2018 fire, the ICNF made three applications “to restore the environmental value of the forest, namely emergency stabilization, reforestation and intervention in the area that was not affected” by the fire. This has resulted in "three projects with a global value of 640,000 euros”, financed by the PDR2020 (Rural Development Program).

 

For the ICNF 's Algarve regional director , the trail “highlights the concern that exists with the preservation of the forest, knowing that the movement of people is a prevention and warning factor for fire situations”.

 

Information regarding the “Trilho da Parra” an be found on the website: https://trilhodaparra.pt/en/parra-trail/

 

The route classified as “difficult” is open throughout the year with free access.

 

 

New 3.5km Armação de Pêra walkway is a hit

The new the Ecovia do Litoral Sul in Armação de Pêra, has a new attraction that promises to delight residents and tourists. Although the works are still in the completion phase and the official inauguration is pending, the Armação de Pêra walkway is already has become a popular destination in recent days, with many Portuguese people visiting the place to enjoy walks and take photographs.

 

This new walkway extends for 3.5 kms, connecting Ribeira dos Salgados to Praia dos Pescadores, passing through Praia Grande and featuring an impressive 225 metre long bridge over the Ribeira de Alcantarilha.

 

In the near future, it is planned to expand the walkway to Barranco do Vale do Olival, and connect to the beaches of the neighbouring municipalities of Albufeira and Lagoa.

 

This is just the first phase of an ambitious project promoted by Silves City Council, with an initial investment of 1.2 million euros.

 

With a financial contribution from the European community and the national government totaling 374,000 euros, the authority's objective is clear and twofold. According to Tiago Raposo, councilor of Silves, the first objective is to provide people with the opportunity to enjoy the environment, appreciating the beautiful natural landscapes, the sea and movement between local beaches. Additionally, the aim is to preserve the dune ecosystem, a natural heritage that is often neglected and damaged by visitors.

 

As for the long-awaited official opening date, Tiago Raposo suggests that it shouldn't be long, as only five % of works still to be completed. 


OTHER NEWS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED:

More news next week!

 

Ed

 

The News this week is sponsored by Portugal Pathways:

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IV Albufeira Civil Protection Knowledge Fair - March 21st to 23rd

As part of the celebrations of the International Civil Protection Day, which is celebrated on March 1st, all interested are invited to attend in the IV Fair of Civil Protection of Knowledge in Albufeira.

 

 

 

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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