Cash-strapped councils to fund Algarve events
António Pina, President of the Algarve Tourism Board, is a strong opponent of the tolls
Photo: ALGARVE RESIDENT
No funds are being made available by the government to help promote cultural events in the Algarve, announced the president of the Algarve Tourism Board (ERTA) at the end of last week.
Government funds to support the promotion of events in the region, which would help its international image, are out of the question this year, said António Pina, adding that the 2012 budget for the Algarve Tourism Board, granted by Turismo de Portugal, has been set at €4.17 million, 30% less than last year.
“It is impossible to continue the Allgarve programme of events. It has died but nobody wants to sign the death certificate,” he said. “That is why this year Allgarve is being replaced by the Algarve Convida (Algarve Invites) project, which the ERTA has proposed to the 16 Algarve Câmaras.”
ERTA’s role in the project will be solely to support the events organised and funded by Algarve municipalities, “utilising the tourism board’s promotional vehicles”.
“We are still waiting to hear back from several Câmaras with a response to our proposal,” said António Pina who regretted that due to lack of finances, the ERTA will not be able to subsidise any municipal actions. However, he said, the tourism board would do all within its means to help promote events in the region.
The tourism chief also said he was concerned about the quality levels of future events, “due to funding coming solely from the Câmaras”, and could not guarantee that they would meet the high standards achieved by the Allgarve scheme.
Funding a cultural programme for the region could prove a problem for the cash-strapped Algarve Câmaras.
Most Algarve Câmaras are facing serious financial problems, with escalating debts they are unable to pay.
Recently, Portimão Mayor Manuel da Luz said many Algarve Câmaras were facing “emergency situations” because of a significant fall in receipts.
Funding from Turismo de Portugal this year ensures three main events to take place in the Algarve: Rally de Portugal, (see sport p46), requiring approximately €2 million financial support, the Portugal Masters golf tournament that will be held at the Vilamoura Victoria Golf Course in October, costing €2.5 million, and the International Golf Travel Market that will be hosted in Faro this November representing an investment of €250,000.
António Pina said: “Although we cannot financially support events to promote the Algarve destination, we still hope there will be an opportunity to organise two or three other major events.”
He stressed that the €4.17 million budget allocated for ERTA would be dedicated “almost exclusively” to operating expenses.
In 2011, Turismo de Portugal allocated €1.8 million for Allgarve, excluding the Rally de Portugal and the Portugal Masters.
Last year’s programme of events brought to the region live acts such as Anastacia, Fura del Baus, McCoy Tyner, John Holt, Raul Midon and Human League.