It's known to everyone. Portugal is fashionable. Year after year, the country has broken records in number of foreign tourists and in profits in the tourist sector. In 2018, Portugal received 12.76 million foreign tourists. Remaining on average 3.2 nights in our country, generating revenues in the hotel sector in the order of 3.6 billion euros in 2018.
The tourism profile in the Algarve has undergone some changes in recent years. For example, in 2018, there was a drop in the number of foreign tourists and an increase in domestic tourists. This may partly reflect the current uncertainty surrounding the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union. It may also reflect the change of mentality of tourists to Portugal, where they see it as a country of cultural tourism and less as a seaside country, or the resurgence of tourism in Tunisia, Egypt and Turkey. Nevertheless, in the last 10 years, the region (and the country) has enjoyed a tourist boom, which has greatly contributed to the local and national economy.
However, not everything is roses, because the Association of Hotels and Tourist Enterprises of the Algarve (AHETA) has complained that there is a lack of manpower in the sector in the Algarve. One of the problems is the imbalance between the location of local populations, where workers live in the area, and workplaces, and in particular the difficulty of mobility between the two locations.
In 2018, the Algarve region received 3 million non-resident tourists, making up 3 rooms of the total number of tourists received. This means that most of the tourists visiting the Algarve region are not nationals. This is a scenario similar to what you see in the rest of the country. This causes, especially in the high season, a change of cultural and population identity. This phenomenon has been more discussed with more intensity in the Lisbon and Porto centenaries, more affected by the phenomenon, but the same can be discussed for the various cities of the Algarve.
The excesses of tourists are also a problem and a headache for local authorities. Besides the excesses committed in the Algarve night, where alcohol disinhibits character and power disrespect, with serious consequences, during the day there are also problems with keeping the order. For example, still in 2017 was reported in the various media the disrespect caused in Albufeira and Faro Airport by about 1000 tourists, all for an hour of closing a local bar. Supervision of safety on the beaches by day, is another headache. Abuse of bathing under uncured conditions of the sea, or persistence in the vicinity of potentially unstable ravines, both of which have potentially fatal consequences, are just a few of the concerns that have to be taken into account.
Overall, the debate on tourism, and its consequences in the country, and particularly in the Algarve region, has to be well considered. If on the one hand, we have the economic-financial advantages, on the other hand, we have some problems that arise from mass tourism that have to be balanced, so that the country and the region can thrive.