Is the Algarve really ready to welcome golf tourists again?

By: May 14, 2020

Have you noticed the latest announcement of the Portuguese tourism board? It said the country’s beaches and hotels will be ready to welcome tourists by mid-June.

According to my source, a complete cancelation of the tourist season this year could cause the Portuguese economy to contract by up to 6%. 15% of gross domestic product (GDP) is created by the tourism industry.

To better understand what is at stake. In 2019, the Algarve generated over 20 million overnight stays (Source: National Statistics Institute). 2019 was a “record-breaking” year for the Algarve.

Between January & November 2019  nearly 1.3 million golf rounds were played at golf courses (Source: Algarve Golf Association).

Portuguese Golf Federation regulations covid19 Algarve

To minimize the losses from May 4, the golf courses and resorts of the Algarve are open again to golf tourists.

Each golf venue is following strict public health guidelines and has implemented new measures under the Portuguese Golf Federation’s ‘The Game’ guidance (see picture above), to ensure safety and responsibility for players and staff, with the initial demand for tee times proving very encouraging.

President of the Algarve Tourism Bureau (ATA), João Fernandes says

“Coupled with the new national ‘Clean & Safe’ certification stamp from Turismo de Portugal for tourism-related businesses, we are making a huge effort to bring confidence and security to our incredible golf tourism industry.”

Vale do Lobo-0195-Algarve

I see most European countries within the Schengen area will ease the coronavirus regulations starting from mid-June. This can give a little hope for golf resorts in the Algarve.

Eurocontrol predicts the air traffic (flights) will get back almost to the pre-coronavirus crisis level around November 2020. What is sure that in the first 4 months of 2020 air traffic declined by 84.2%.

I have got at least 4 big concerns:

  • Can we really expect a huge wave of golf tourists in the Algarve after the coronavirus crisis? The unemployment rate is expected to rise to 9% in the EU. Source: Statista. The lowest unemployment rate will be in Germany (4%). France 10.1%, Sweden 9.7%, Belgium 7%, UK 6.7%.
  • Let’s assume that people will rush to the Algarve. How will the airport in Faro prepare to be able to handle the masses in an expectable and pleasant way?? Overtourism is still a problem for many tourism destinations.
  • If the golf resorts will enforce the health safety regulations will they be able to generate sufficient revenue by being open?
  • Whether airlines and golf travel agencies & DMCs are prepared to restart on June 15?
Quinta do Lago North 8th hole Algarve

Open golf clubs in the Algarve since 4th May

  • Álamos Golf Course
  • Boavista Golf & Spa
  • Espiche Golf Club
  • Amendoeira Golf Resort – Faldo Course
  • Amendoeira Golf Resort – O’Connor Course
  • Quinta do Lago – Laranjal Golf Course
  • Quinta do Lago – North Golf Course (see picture above)
  • Onyria Beach & Golf Resort
  • Dom Pedro Golf – Old Golf Course
  • Pestana Golf Resort – Gramacho Golf Course
  • Pestana Golf Resort – Vila Sol Golf Course
  • Quinta da Ria & Quinta de Cima Golf Course
  • NAU Hotels & Resorts – Salgados Golf Course
  • Golf Santo Antonio course at Parque da Floresta

If you hear about more openings then please write it in the comment box below!