The representative of the Portuguese Hospitality Association (AHP) in the Algarve said today that "there are British customers anticipating" the departure of hotel units, due to the uncertainty of the closure of the air corridor between the United Kingdom and Portugal.
"The news of a possible closure of the air corridor is already causing a great deal of concern, particularly among customers who are currently in the Algarve, with some asking to anticipate their return to England," the association leader João Soares told Lusa.
The regional leader of the association, which represents more than 60% of national hoteliers, said that, in addition to the anticipation of departures, there are also cancellations of reservations: "At the moment, this cancellation has already a considerable number".
João Soares said that hoteliers are looking at the situation with great concern, considering that a British decision to restore the mandatory quarantine on arrival in British territory, coming from Portugal, due to the covid-19 pandemic, “does not make much sense , because the Algarve fulfills the contamination ratios and is the region least affected by contagions ”.
The associative leader defends that “a different treatment for the Algarve should be given, because the region should not be penalized by the contagion ratio that exists in other areas of the country”.
"We depend to a large extent on the British market, which has a substantial impact in the month of September," stressed João Soares, adding that hoteliers are very concerned, not least because member companies were asked to operate during the month of September ".
The director of Hotel Dom José Beach, in Quarteira, reinforced the concern of AHP associates “given the imminence of having to take a step back in what has been achieved in a region that complies with what is due in terms of the number of cases” of covid-19.
For his part, the president of the Association of Hotels and Tourist Enterprises of the Algarve (AHETA) told the Lusa agency that, “for the time being, there is still no record” of British tourists who are returning to their country due to the news pointing to a possible decision by the UK Government to reinstate the quarantine requirement upon arrival in British territory.
“What can be said is that this is not good news and, if it happens, it will bring huge losses to the region and the country”, said the president of AHETA, Elidérico Viegas, stressing that “the British market is strategic and priority for the region, it represents more than a third of overnight stays and tourists and, in revenue, it represents more because the 'per capita' expenditure is higher than the average 'of visitors from other countries.
Algarve hotels and tourist developments “are keen to hope that the British press is mistaken this time”, added Elidérico Viegas, stressing that “this is not the first time that this would happen”.
The president of AHETA defended that “it makes no sense to consider Portugal as a whole as an unsafe destination when, in truth, the Algarve had very few people infected per 100 thousand inhabitants” and registers a value of “just over two per 100 thousand inhabitants” , which “meets European criteria” to be considered a safe destination.
“Penalizing regions like the Algarve because the areas of Lisbon and Porto have a higher number of infected people seems to me a little – not a little, it is a lot – unfair. And not just for us, but for the British tourists themselves ”who want to visit the region, said the president of AHETA.