Algarve records ‘best ever’ year
Portugal’s Algarve region had 16.4 million overnight stays in 2014, making it the best ever year on that measure, according to provisional figures released on Tuesday by the regional tourist board, the RTA, that also showed Faro airport handling over 6 million passengers for the first time.
Overnight stays have grown every year since 2009, according to the RTA, making this the longest period of continuous growth in the region’s history. In 2013, there were 14.7 million n and in 2009, 12.9 million.
At a news conference to unveil the results, the RTA’s president, Desidério Silva, said that growth is expected to continue this year, but that national officials can not rest on their laurels or the Algarve could lose competitiveness in relation to other regions in Portugal and abroad.
“It has been an effort by many people, but it must continue to be done,” he said, acknowledging that it is more difficult to growth from this high base, but expressing confidence that demand this year will be in line with that seen last year. That means “more responsibility”, he added.
The RTA, which was created 45 years ago this year, is bidding for national and European Union funds to bolster the visibility of the region’s brand.
By far the largest single group of foreign visitors to the Algarve last year were the British (5.1 million overnight stays) followed by Germans (1.5 million) and the Dutch (1.3 million).