‘The beginning of normality’: Algarve welcomes back British tourists
Unemployment rose by 70% in the past year in the Portuguese region most reliant on tourism, so locals are delighted to see Kevin Rushby and today’s other arrivals
The mood at Faro airport was buoyant. Camera operators and photographers jostled to take pictures of smiling tourists, perhaps not as many as hoped, for but more are on the way. João Fernandes, head of the Algarve tourism board, was there, too, greeting arrivals while his staff handed out face masks, hand gel and sprigs of lavender.
“I feel good,” said Fernandes. “The British tourists are a very big part of our economy. In 2018 half of the passengers coming through this airport were from the UK. They stayed for six million overnights out of a total of 16 million for international visitors. And on our golf courses, 83% of visitors were British or Irish.”