The ERTA will now have a budget of 5.8 million euros for 2013, an increase of 1.6 million euros from the amount allocated from the government for the ERTA last year.
President of the ERTA, Desiderio Silva, told the Portuguese news agency Lusa: “This is the largest amount of funding that the ERTA has received for five years and will allow us to create the necessary conditions to be able to fulfill the objectives and commitments in the Algarve region.”
The economic downturn in Portugal has led to budget cuts across the board with these cuts having a huge affect on the ability of the ERTA to be able to promote the region as a tourist destination.
Tourism remains the primary source of revenue for many in the region with fewer tourists leading to further job cuts and businesses closing.
Desiderio Silva said that these new funds would be directed at promoting the Algarve to the domestic Portuguese market for the coming summer season.
The increase in funding was announced during a workshop which involved the ERTA , The Association of Hotels and Resorts in the Algarve (AHETA) and the Association of Hoteliers and Similar Industries of the Algarve (AIHSA).
At the meeting the subject of the controversial “tourist tax” was also discussed with the pros and cons of introducing a tax on the number of nights each tourist staying region being possible used to boost municipal budgets to pay for the services these people use while on holiday in the Algarve.
New and inventive ways to raise funds for the region while continuing to attract visitors from both Portugal and from other European countries remains the focus of all of the entities involved in the meeting but just how to do this still remains unsolved at this difficult economic time.
Desiderio Silva said: “It is important to hear the views of all those involved in tourism, about what can be done and how the funding will work in the context of new regional entities.”
The Algarve remains a popular tourist destination but has suffered from a lack of promotion and also from a lack of funding which has led to a fall in the level of infrastructure and services.
Increasingly tourists are looking for added value in their holidays and the Algarve needs to remain competitive in a very crowded market if it is to continue to attract the all important tourist money that is needed to keep the region moving forward.