The Government of Madeira predicts that the influx of tourists to Porto Santo this summer will replace “the best years”, with peaks of 40 thousand visitors, but some businessmen warn of possible difficulties in terms of service provision.
“It is positive that we have a good number of visitors, to cover all the expenses during this covid-19 pandemic period, in the last year and a half, however, if the forecasts are confirmed, with such a large flow of tourists, it will be complicated for the provision of services,” said Lusa Miguel Velosa, president of the Association of Industry, Commerce and Tourism of Porto Santo (AICTPS) to the agency.
The businessman warned of difficulties in the capacity to respond, especially in the hospitality sector, marked by the lack of labor and insufficient professional training of workers.
“The reality is this,” he said, noting that “most of the people who worked in hospitality, due to the salary scales not having been raised for three or four years, left and looked for another type of work.”
For the Government of Madeira, the Porto Santo operation is “very relevant” for the local tourism sector, noting that the measures to control the covid-19 pandemic make the island a “safe destination”.
“This year we consolidated a ‘charter’ operation, which involves SATA and Iberia, which guarantees us six weekly frequencies, in addition to another six of TAP’s regular flights, which are in great demand,” explained the secretary of the Tourism and Culture, Eduardo Jesus, adding that there will also be flights from the UK, Poland and Denmark.
“We will have a full summer in Porto Santo, a summer like no memory, surpassing the best years in Porto Santo,” he declared.
The government official also said that, in addition to the “commercial work” of attracting national and international tour operators, the Madeiran executive invested in measures to control and contain covid-19, such as the vaccination of professionals linked to the tourism sector and the obligation to negative PCR test to enter the region.
On the other hand, a ‘green corridor’ has been created for people with full vaccinations or recovering from the disease.
For travel between islands – Madeira and Porto Santo – only a rapid antigen test is required.
Eduardo Jesus also stressed that the vaccination of the population of Porto Santo will be completed soon.
Also for the president of the Association of Industry, Commerce and Tourism of Porto Santo, “all the conditions” are in place for a “safe summer” on the island.
However, the official insisted that the lack of manpower and the lack of professional training of workers in the restoration sector constitute problems that will only be overcome with “great difficulty”.
“For this reason, one of the great bets of our association in the short term will be to invest in training”, he said, adding that the AICTPS will “start with training courses in areas related to tourism and catering and services, particularly in terms of customer service to the public and conflict management.”
Porto Santo is the second inhabited island of the Madeira archipelago, has 42.17 kilometers of surface and a resident population of 5,483 people (2011 Census), being a popular summer destination, known for its fine yellow sand beach with a length of nine kilometers.