The president of the Association of Hotels and Tourist Enterprises of the Algarve (AHETA) today considered “manifestly insufficient” the amount of 300 million euros destined for the region through European Union funds, due to the fall in tourism, reports the Lusa agency.
"It seems to me that money is clearly insufficient in view of the scale of the problems that the region is experiencing," he told Lusa Elidérico Viegas, arguing that "it is not enough for the public investments that are necessary to make and to support companies".
Portugal will raise, with the long-term budget of the European Union (EU) and the Recovery Fund, 45 billion euros in subsidies, earmarking 300 million euros to the Algarve region, due to the fall in tourism.
Prime Minister António Costa made the announcement this morning in Brussels, minutes after the European Council reached agreement on a total package of 1.82 billion euros for the recovery of the post-crisis community economy of the covid-19.
The "specific program for the Algarve region", supported by an additional 300 million euros in the area of Cohesion, aims, according to the minister, "to support the diversification of its economy, improve infrastructure and make necessary investments in the health sector".
However, despite considering that the specific plan for the region is a “right” measure, the president of the largest hotel association in the Algarve recalls that this “is the area of the country most affected economically and socially” and that the budget of 300 million euros represents less than 0.7% of the total approved for the country.
"I think the Algarve must be endowed according to its contribution to the country's wealth", he defended Lusa.
According to the businessman, the amount to be allocated to the Algarve "has to be adjusted to the domestic product" of a region in which tourism – the sector that has been most "shaken" by the covid-19 pandemic – is the main economic activity .
According to the official, the falls in the sector are "enormous", having hovered around 100% in April and May and 90% in June. It is expected that the month of July will end with breaks in the order of 60%.
In August, the estimate is that the sector will suffer a 50% drop, which will start to increase after September, with falls of 60% to 70%. From October, these values should be in the order of 90%.
“We are in a situation where this specific plan to recover tourism in the Algarve requires the definition of a set of exceptional measures, which are intended, on the one hand, to preserve jobs and, on the other, to allow companies to continue production to economic and social recovery, which will last for many years ”, he concluded.
In the previous Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020 – and which did not include the Recovery Fund now created because of the pandemic -, Portugal had 32.7 billion euros, with an increase of 37%.
Among the 45.1 billion euros that the country will now raise includes 15.3 billion euros in non-refundable transfers exactly under this recovery program, as well as 29.8 billion euros in subsidies EU long-term budget 2021-2027.