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Too Much Tourism, Too Little Economy?

PS-Madeira leader, Sérgio Gonçalves, accompanied by Rui Caetano and Gonçalo Aguiar visited the Madeira Pavilion at the Lisbon Tourism Exchange (BTL).

The PS-M leader liked what he saw, and praised the physical space, but refused to accept at face value the vast number of compliments that the Region is receiving, considering that from a paradise point of view, Madeira only has its natural beauty.

“I always make a point of visiting BTL, not only because of my professional career in tourism but also because it is one of the most important sectors of the region’s economy.”

He went on to say:

“There are those who say that we have too much tourism, but I say that we do not have too much tourism, we have too little economy. And therefore, we have to grow and diversify other sectors, but always take care of the main activity, tourism, which provides so many jobs to so many people and is fundamental to our development.”

“Within the political guidelines, it seems to me that we have lost some opportunities, especially during the pandemic, to requalify the island as a product. It’s not just about requalifying the hotel sector. Product prequalification needs to extend into tourism and its infrastructure as a whole for it to withstand the increased demand for Madeira as a holiday destination. Moreover, we have made improvement proposals in the Regional Assembly, for example, footpaths, because there is still so much to be done in this area.”

On the other hand, he continued, “we must have the ability to value all professionals in the sector, without exception, not only those in hospitality. There must be improvements so that we can improve everyone’s lives.”

Focused then on the issue of paradise, Sérgio Gonçalves points out that “Madeira as a tourist destination is a paradise. And I argue that the islands of Madeira and Porto Santo are two destinations that complement each other and are must see paradises.”

However, destinations are also made up of people, and economic activity needs to be reflected in people’s living capacity. We remain a region of emigration, with difficulties in accessing health and housing and at high risk of poverty. This only changes with government policies, which do not exist, and that is what we propose to do when we are in government.”

Samantha Gannon

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