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Carlos Rosa’s opinion article for Ambitur.

A look at how to reinvent the future in the pandemic by looking at a successful past is the motto of the opinion piece by Carlos Rosa, Partner and Coordinator of moneris’ Tourism Skills Center, which has as a backdrop the tourism yearbook that was recently launched.

Article in full:

In a year that tourism in Portugal was expected to beat all records, the pandemic brought exactly the opposite.

Moneris’ 2019 Tourism Yearbook traces the bridge between these two realities by promoting not only a 2019 reading but also an analysis of the first months of 2020.

It is an essential document of reflection of the sector that in the coming years will need to reinvent itself.

This yearbook also counts the precious contributions of the Secretary of State for Tourism Eng. Rita Marques, do Eng. Martinho Fortunato (Marlagos, S.A) , Dr. Francisco Moser (Discovery Hotel Management), Dr. Júlio Delgado (Ombria Resort), Dr. Pedro Costa Ferreira (APAVT) and Dr. Diogo Assis (VOQIN), whom we thank very much.

When looking at tourism activity in May 2020, we found that it saw a positive cumulative balance in the tourist balance of EUR 1.95 billion, reflecting a 51.4% drop compared to the same period, this decrease is not only more significant because the indicators for February 2020 foresaw a very promising year.

Covid 19, from March, immobilized all economic activity, especially the tourism sector, measuring the results of provisional accumulated may 58.5% in the number of guests reflecting in all other indicators.

Pandemic outbreaks are still increasing worldwide, tourism revenues, due to the decline in the foreign market, are expected to continue to decline at a rate of more than 55%. The Algarve region suffers strongly from portugal’s exclusion from the air corridor with the United Kingdom, while the metropolitan area of Lisbon is negatively impacted by the uncontrolof the pandemic in the USA and Brazil (markets that were expanding rapidly).

The trend for the coming years is for tourists to look for places that “seem” safer and maintain social distancing by favoring the

rural and nature tourism, relegating to the background the closed places, such as city tourism, cultural and the organization of events.

The itemive use of technology and robotization is here to stay and is critical at this stage. Due to this unprecedented and time-in-definite crisis, the European Union reached a financial agreement between the various countries that make funds available for economic recovery on 21 July 2020.

The European recovery plan has made €45 billion available to Portugal to be implemented by 2027, of which €15.3 billion is lost. The Government Portuguese allocated 300 million euros to the Algarve region in order to compensate for the drop in tourism.

The crisis will continue, this package of measures injects into the cash-flow economy, which allows investment, the recovery of production and consumption.

The investment must be judicious and the funds allocated controlled and audited so that the same does not happen as in the past. I think we can all learn from the current situation and draw conclusions about the strategies adopted by some economic groups who choose to massively demobilise their production to Asian destinations; exploitation, endless hours of daily work and low-quality products.

The funds to be made available cannot only be used to improve the health system, increase and electrify the rail network, build more airports; all this investment must be consistent with the increase in the number of producing and exporting companies, as this is the only way to create wealth; otherwise it is more of the same, i.e. the perpetuation of the trade deficit, an underdeveloped, dependent and begging country successively helps its EU partners.

Decision-making and timing will be crucial for the sector and the related services it feeds through which it is imperative that we all leave victimisation behind in the face of circumstances and can be agents of change and transforming the sector and the country.

Crisis management, the strategic framework, the review of objectives and targets, the restructuring of business plans and access to the support provided are essential for adapting to new socio-economic conditions and constraints.

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