TAP Strike Again ; Illegal Safaris ; Air Passengers Fall ; Sod The Jellyfish ; Dogs In Crisis

(11th August). ‘Trade Unions Of TAP Call A Strike For The End Of August And In September – The strike will hit flights for Madeira’. 5 trade unions representing TAP workers have called the coordinated strike for 28th & 29th August, and 11th & 12th September. In a statement to the media, Vitor Mesquita, leader of the Workers Union for Aviation and Airports, said that workers are demanding a wage review and clarification of collective bargaining.

(10th August). ‘Unfair competition and unlawful acts in the ‘Safaris’. The off-road trips for tourists are a growing activity on Madeira, but often the law is disregarded. That creates a particularly difficult situation for an island that depends heavily on tourism, and where the necessary care is not present in the the quality of services offered to visitors. Some voices however criticise the law that is detached from reality. One way or another, the truth is that the extent of illegalities detected is extensive and ranges from the use of drivers without proper qualifications for the job (the law requires a tourism approved driver / mountain guide / guide-interpreter), to the use of vehicles in a poor state of repair and of questionable safety, and through the placement of cards (permits?) allocated to ‘jeep’ agencies’ in unlicensed vehicles belonging to third parties. One company in the sector said "For a start there is little regulation. Since 2006, when my company began to operate, I can assure you that we never had any checks, and never saw anyone doing them. Also, I see almost every day examples of the companies that do not comply with the law, including the provision of qualified drivers. The market is being distorted and those, who like me, comply with the law are the worst affected".

‘Passengers In The Airport Of Madeira Fall 3.2% – The airport lost seven thousand passengers in July compared to the same month in 2008’. The numbers relate to arrival and departure movements. The airport operator ANAM reports that there were 213,941 passengers last month. The decline was mainly due to a 19.1% fall in international traffic, down to 96,135 (118,839 in July 2008), but was mostly offset by an increase in domestic travellers, up 15.4% to 117,086, now representing 55% of all airport passenger movements.

‘Hotels On Porto Santo ‘Resolved’ This Year’. With the threat of the closure of several hotels during the low season this Winter, and still without a tour operator interested in bringing tourists to the island during the low season, the matter of new bed capacity is being questioned, taking into account the prospect of the three new hotels promised. With the Colombo Resort (on hold with financial difficulties), the hotel promised by Cristiano Ronaldo, and the Pestana Dunas (postponed), the council believe it will be a matter of some time until they are moved forward. The Pestana unit will go ahead, and although the work was originally planned to commence early in 2009, work should start at the end of this year, or early next, with the opening in 2011. Pestana already have the licences necessary, and have already started marketing units priced at €259,000. The socialist candidate there in the forthcoming elections is challenging the hotel strategy, asking "who benefits from all this?", with no guarantees of more jobs or opportunities for businesses, whilst tourism is so depressed.

‘Doggy Hotels Also Feel The Crisis’. Apparently dog hotels in the Algarve have seen a drop in bookings of 50 to 60%. A cat hotel too, that was full last August, is just 30% booked for this month, but 80% of their clients are English, French and German. People who used to travel back to their birth countries 3 times a year, are now travelling just once, and leaving their pets with friends and neighbours to be looked after. For one day at €7, the hotel for felines, offers custom hand-painted rooms, "room service" with morning greetings to each guest by the name of the animal, delicacies and water. There are also hygiene care and veterinary services in case of sudden illness. The "check in" Hotel for Dogs can be done between 09:00 and 19:00 and the service is door to door, with taxi, which collects and returns the animal to the owner. If the owners can’t afford to put their dogs in the hotels, when they go off on holiday I guess their pets have to sleep ruff?

There is a general article about the bus company Horários do Funchal, financial stuff and so on, but I was amazed by some of the facts and figures in the article. In 2008, it carried 27.2 million passengers, on journeys amounting to 9 million kilometres. It has 626 employees, all men apart from 35, costing in wages, employment costs, etc. €13.4 million a year.

(9th August). ‘Not Even With Jellyfish And Pollution – During July, the beaches of Funchal continued very popular’. A somewhat more upbeat account than the recent Jornal article about the jellyfish. Even with the complaints about pollution and jellyfish, Madeirans continued to frequent the beaches last month. The company that manages the beach and pool complexes in Funchal, Frente MarFunchal, reports that the number of entrances at Lido, Barreirinha, Ponta Gorda, and Doca do Cavacas rose to 92,000 in July, compared to just 31,000 in June. Lido alone saw 41,138 admissions in July, up also on 2008, with Ponta Gorda admitting 39,251 people. Sea water tests taken up to 2nd August all indicated good quality clean water for swimming at all the Funchal beaches. Sea water quality tests will continue until the end of September. The results can be seen here WATER QUALITY but to save a look, all the beaches of Madeira currently rate GOOD, except Ponta do Sol and Porto da Cruz (both ACCEPTABLE). On the website go to the tab at the top DADOS SINTETIZADOS, and then QUALIDADE DA ÁGUA,  then click Madeira when the map comes up.

Leave a comment

Translate »