/Algarve: Covid safe haven for European tourism

Algarve: Covid safe haven for European tourism

The state of emergency is coming to an end in Portugal. Although it’s not a return to normal life, there is a consensus among the Portuguese regarding the success of the containment measures so far. As of May 1st, the country reached the symbolic number of 1000 deaths due to Covid-19 – in a country of 10 million.  The number of infected is near 25.000; experts say the real number was likely much higher (up to 5 times), but the number of deceased is in line with the international averages that have been found. Almost 900 of these 1000 deaths were people over 70 years old.

13 deaths in a population of nearly half a million

In Algarve, the Covid numbers are particularly encouraging. There were 13 deaths so far, in a population of about 450.000 residents.

Elidérico Viegas, president of the Algarve hotelier union (AHETA), spoke to the local media and is looking at the summer with moderate but solid enthusiasm. According to Mr Viegas, the Algarvian hotels are receiving a good number of contacts (apparently, more than expected) from British clients to schedule holidays for summer.

Mr Viegas added that “the British and German governments (…) advised their citizens against travelling to Spain” and that Portugal is comparing well against her immediate Mediterranean neighbours.  And although there will be travelling restrictions, namely regarding air travel, some hotels are seriously reconsidering opening from June or July onwards.

Golf courses to reopen

Among the commercial establishments that are opening on May 4th are the golf courses. According to the director of the Algarvian Boavista Golf Resort, golf can safely reopen as “does not involve close contact”. However, the golf course will follow the guidelines issued by the Portuguese health board (DGS), as now it will be the time to adapt to “a new normal”: how we are going to live while there is not a vaccine or herd immunity.

This goes in line with what Mr Viegas also told the media: there will be “social distancing”, common areas will have to be disinfected frequently, and restaurants and bars will have to limit the number of people that can get in. But Algarve is planning and getting ready to become active in these “new normal” times.