By Chris King •
Updated: 23 Oct 2023 • 21:42
Image of an aircraft flying.
Credit: Iryna Rasko/Shutterstock.com
THE Algarve Tourism Board (RTA) is preparing to launch what will be the first direct link between Faro airport and the United States.
Their objective is to create a non-stop route that would help to increase the number of American tourists to the south of the country, as well as facilitating the ease of potential investors wanting to travel to the region.
Lisbon airport is under increasing pressure with the number of passengers using the facility which causes subsequent delays in the connections between the capital and Faro.
Portugal’s national carrier TAP has also lacked investment in the Algarve’s Gago Coutinho facility, which has led the RTA to roll up its sleeves and look for other airlines to inaugurate a new route.
‘We’re working with Faro airport and different companies. The region has wanted this connection for a long time. Entrepreneurs have been very supportive of the route, based on the growth of this market. The main issue is a direct link to the North American market, not to any particular city’, revealed André Gomes, the president of the RTA.
In an interview with Dinheiro Vivo, Gomes assured that negotiations were underway and that the aim was to be able to announce the new link as soon as possible.
‘These are always negotiation processes that take some time and are dealt with in a very private way. We hope to have good news to announce soon’, he continued.
Gomes added: ‘The region has already clearly demonstrated that it is available, that it is interested, that it has the possibility of investing in this and, together with the airport and Turismo de Portugal, we are working to make this connection a reality’.
As the new leader of the RTA – who took office in June, succeeding João Fernandes, he explained that the North American market grew by 40 per cent in the region in August alone compared to 2019.
The growing interest of these tourists in Portugal has also manifested itself in the Algarve and he believes that making it easier to get to Faro is fundamental to increasing demand.
‘Fortunately, it’s not because we don’t have a direct flight that we haven’t been visited by North American tourists. Obviously, a direct connection would be much more beneficial for us, because we know it’s a market that adds value to demand’, Gomes pointed out.
‘We already have connections to the north and south of America via SATA, with a stopover in Ponta Delgada, or with other companies from Lisbon. For these markets, it’s important to get to your destination more quickly, without having too many stops between airports or stopovers’, he insisted.
‘The huge pressure on Lisbon airport is causing connections to Faro flights to stop for many hours’, he stressed, which reinforces the urgency of a direct connection with the US.
André Gomes believes that the Algarve is becoming more and more attractive in the eyes of the Americans, not only in terms of tourism, but also in terms of investment.
Although he won’t give specific figures, he insisted that there were ‘several million euros’ invested by Americans in tourism projects in the Algarve and the outlook is for growth.
‘We have a number of very large investments from North American funds and brands that are investing heavily in the Algarve. It’s a market that adds value and has a higher investment capacity. It’s also what we want, to enhance our offer and with these markets we can do it’, he concluded.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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