Tourism from Brazil to increase ; Intense rainfall damages land & property ; Cruise ship blog

Today’s photo – Many thanks to Jaquine … Funchal marina

madeira news blog 1001 jaquine funchal marina

"Madeira is a sub-tropical Portuguese island in the mid Atlantic Ocean. Every January it hosts a week long walking festival providing three or more daily guided hikes with various levels of difficulty. The event is the brainchild of writer and photographer Terry Marsh who, this year, had to supervise from a distance as he was recovering from heart surgery. He needn’t have worried; for many of the participants this was their third year and they knew exactly where to go and what to do". A report on this years Madeira walking Festival, with photos HERE

A couple more web snippets … many thanks to Becky.

A blog entirely dedicated to the movement of Cruise ships visiting Funchal. Who’d have thought it?! It’s in Portuguese so good luck! Strangely interesting though, even if you don’t understand it. FUNCHAL CRUISE VISITS

Should any of you be thinking of landing a plane at the Aeroporto in windy weather perhaps you should look at this before you attempt it. On a separate note, I had absolutely no idea that every time I landed at the airport, the onboard computer was saying “Retard… Retard…” Of course I have since learned that ‘retard’ is a perfectly normal word if you’re used to flying planes (which I am not) but it’s still going to make me smile on my next landing when I say to the Captain under my breath, “Retard… Retard…”

Also a couple of news stories from Becky … many thanks.

Bad weather causes landslides, flooding and fallen trees – Santana is the county most affected with many roads closed. The heavy rains that fell during the night in Madeira caused several landslides, floods, falling trees and walls, but there is no record of personal injury. Madeira airport is operating normally and only in the morning, due to rain, an aircraft had to depart from Porto to Lisbon. The county most affected by bad weather is Santana, where they have already recorded several roads closed due to landslides in Faial, Cruzinhas, São Roque do Faial and São Jorge Arco, according to a contact by the corporations of the 11 municipalities in the region.

Wall in Monte at risk of falling on public
It is with some trepidation that residents of Caminho do Pico in Monte, are facing daily life with regard to driving or walking on the path that gives them access to their homes.  A large section of the wall of the Quinta Jardins do Imperador has fallen and seems to point to an imminent collapse, which may well happen if the ancient wall of stone wall is subjected to another period of intense and prolonged rain.  For some time, the residents have felt some fear crossing the street and yesterday, with the fall of the wall, the feeling of insecurity has grown.  The stones did not cause personal injury or material damage. But given that the wall maintains land where the gardens are planted with large trees, residents fear that the next collapse might have other consequences.  Earlier this month a tree fell due to the wind. Thankfully, the section of wall which saw the fall is still tough. The Fire Department of Funchal attended and placed grids to draw attention to the instability of the wall.  The authority has been informed of what happened.

The article below is a full and exact translation as reported yesterday … many thanks to Vanessa Swesnik :

Brazilian Tourists to Arrive for Easter – Tour operator from Salvador da Bahia organizes a trip to Madeira in April. Brazilian tour operator, BIS (Brazil International Service), headquartered in Salvador, Bahia added a trip to Madeira to its Portugal package.

Lucia Bichara, President Director of BIS, confirmed with the DIÁRIO DE NOTÍCIAS that the first clients to travel to our island next Easter will arrive by chartered flight from Salvador to Lisbon.

In recent years BIS has chartered a number of flights to Portugal, especially for New Years and other special occasions such as Carnival and Easter. Starting in 2007, the year in which it increased operations to our country, the Bahian operator focused the Portugal promotion in other Northeastern markets, creating a second charter flight from Recife, Pernambuco.

In recent statements to the DIÁRIO during the inauguration of the International Tourism Exhibition, Lucia Bichara emphasized that the clients started showing more interest in visiting Madeira starting last year. Beyond the few individual programs leaving from Madeira that partner with other Portuguese operators, BIS’s President Director felt the necessity to create its own programs which included a visit to the autonomous region with transport, accommodations, and a detailed schedule of excursions; all of which will take place with the support and collaboration of Madeira’s Windsor Travel Agency, representing the Brazilian operator here in Madeira.

Even though the tours are still on sale for another two months until the actual travel date, Lucia Bichara is very satisfied with the reception of the trip and hopes to bring a few dozen Brazilian tourists this Easter.

Although there is no official direct promotional activity from regional tourist institutions to the Brazilian market, Madeira has appeared in several travel and general interest publications thanks to the arrival of Brazilian journalists who depend on support from the Regional Tourism Directorate of Madeira (Direcção Regional de Turismo da Madeira- DRTM) and local hotels on their excursions to the archipelago.

During the largest tourism fair in Latin America, the Fair of the Americas last October in Rio de Janeiro, the DRTM was present and noted many of the people who visited the Portugal pavilion had an interest in visiting Madeira – they also noted many questions from travel agents who want to send their clients to the archipelago.

Lucia Bichara thinks a good beginning has been made, but that there must be more promotion directly to consumers and to the travel agents who resell the product. In this instance in particular, there is everything to gain from the identification of successful hotel brands in the Brazilian market that are not only easily identified in Portugal and Madeira, but that also have their headquarters here. Such is the case with hotel groups Pestana, Porto Bay, Dorisol, and Enotel.

The Brazilian market currently has a lot of potential in terms of travel. Despite being a country that has up until recently been labeled “Third World” due to pockets of extreme poverty in its most densely populated areas, the truth is that in economic terms, Brazil is one of the most important countries in the world, with its economy ranking in fifth place globally according to international organizations.

Brazilian tourist spending increases in Portugal. The Brazilian currency, the Real, has gone through a very robust phase and has permitted Brazilians to look to the foreign holiday market with more enthusiasm.

Portugal has achieved preferred status with Brazilians heading to Europe over the past few months, due in large part to the fact that Portuguese airline, TAP, has the largest flight network from Brazil to the Old Continent (67 flights to nine airports per week). Thus, Brazilian tourist spending went up by 41.1% to $24.5 million this September compared with the homologous month of 2008, and it went up 16.7% to $25.986 million in October according to the latest information available from the Bank of Portugal.

September was the first month in which a shift occurred in Brazilian tourism and travel spending abroad, with an increase of 59.5% to 1.236 million US dollars; whereas since October there were sharp drops of two digits in most cases. ORIGINAL IN PORTUGUESE

Tom sent in this photo he took yesterday. "Just minutes ago wall gave in, all banana trees dropped down on the Travessa São Luise. Too much rain for the past 24 h. Thanks Tom.

madeira news blog 1002 tom wall collapse in bad weather january 2010

Many thanks to Elaine once again for yesterday’s top news stories :

DIÁRIO 02/02/2010 – MADEIRA

Public works stain beachfront at Câmara de Lobos. For months, part of the seafront at Câmara de Lobos has been tarnished brown by the discharge of sludge into the sea from public works under the responsibility of the Regional Government. It is most noticeable at the area in front of the Praça da Autonomia, from the mouth of the stream at Vigário. This has been triggered by the construction of the new expressway linking the Estreito and Jardim da Serra, and reinforced by a municipal road linking Ribeiro da Alforra and Limoeiro, constructed by the side of a stream and a few hundred metres from its mouth. Debris from the work enters the stream and then flows directly into the sea. The mayor acknowledges the interference with the beautiful scenery but it would be impractical to separate and retain the sludge, as the work is near the town, stream and the coast. He hopes that it will finish before summer.

Lack of leadership in the National Scouts Corps. The lack of leaders is put down to the fact that it is difficult for adults of parish communities to be available for training and that society is "increasingly selfish". The leaders are voluntary and are not paid. Most adults take refuge in the excuse that they have no time. The regional head also pointed out that Baden-Powell, when he started the scouting movement more than 100 years ago, stated that the biggest fault of mankind is selfishness. The present training course has 18 candidates who should be ready by the end of the year. In the region, there are about a thousand scouts spread over 15 groups.

Police seize more counterfeit notes. This week, the Judicial Police seized more counterfeit euro notes. A dozen 20 euro notes, this time in Machico and Caniçal. Three individuals were eventually identified and the manufacturer, a minor, was referred to the Family and Minors Court and the printing equipment seized. On several occasions in recent weeks, counterfeit notes have been detected but are not related to this latest event. The Bank of Portugal website provides information for discerning the authenticity of banknotes.

Barreirinha left abandoned. The storms in December destroyed the offshore concrete platform and deposited pieces of concrete in the swimming pool. Since then, waves have washed rubbish into the leisure complex – cardboard, plastic and bottles. Tourists still visit the area which is run by FrenteMar. The bathrooms, bars and showers are shut and the staff who work there during the summer have been redeployed to other areas. There is no entrance fee during winter as the number of visitors is less than 10 per day. The restoration work will not start before spring and it will probably not be ready for the new season. The alternative area for visitors and residents of this part of Funchal is the Praia de São Tiago.


Peugeot and Citroen cars have an identical defect to the Toyota. The group PSA own Peugeot and Citroen and will recall 600 cars in Portugal. The models Peugeot 107 and Citroen C1 have a faulty accelerator pedal. This is a preventative campaign and the owners will be notified by mail. Toyota have recalled 1.8 million vehicles in Europe and these cars were all manufactured in the Czech Republic.


PSD highlight the activities of the Centro da Mãe. This is run by a charity dedicated to supporting young mothers. The headquarters are at the Avenida Luís de Camões in Funchal and were visited by members of the parliamentary committees of Education and Social Affairs. The charity supports 92 young mothers in various municipalities in the region. These mothers have problems with social exclusion and the centre promotes inclusion back into society. The centre receives young mothers in difficulties, many of them teenagers who usually leave school when they become pregnant or after the birth of their children. The centre provides education and training, parenting skills, helps in job searches, provides fitness and yoga classes and other activities.

Cavaco forces dialogue. The President of Portugal, Cavaco Silva, wants to force the Prime Minister of Portugal and the President of Madeira into dialogue. He has convened the Council of State where tomorrow, the political and economical situation of the country and the Regional Finance Law will be discussed. Cavaco Silva stresses the importance of consensus, and the need is great because the law drafted by the Regional Government has become a battleground between the government and the opposition. There have been many proposals for amending the law to make it acceptable to the socialist Government of Portugal, accusations and counter-statements. Portugal stands to loose 80 million Euros to Madeira and the Azores.


‘Clean Portugal’ attracts Madeiran volunteers. This project has been inspired by a similar one in Estonia in 2008. The campaign ‘Clean Portugal’ has about five dozen volunteers in Madeira for the event to be held on March 20th. Across the country, there are about 20,000 people interested and the goal is to have 100,000. The project is also open to partnerships with companies and institutions, public and private entities that can help with resources. A TV station is helping by broadcasting videos related to the project on the theme of waste and the environment. Sites needing cleaning up are increasing in number and are added to the computer program by volunteers as they are detected. Information on how to volunteer is on the website: LIMPAR PORTUGAL.



Six schools closed for the safety of students and staff. 15 sections of roads closed as a precautionary measure. Shops inundated in lower Funchal. Floods, landslides and raised manhole covers. Landslides and fallen trees in the higher zones of Curral dos Romeiros and Babosas in Monte. In the city centre, a tunnel of the Cota 40 was flooded. Some shops were flooded at the area of Sé, among them the souvenir shop Bazar Oliveira. Also flooding along the Rua das Murças to the Rua do Carmo. Bad weather wreaks havoc in Machico, Porto da Cruz and Santa Cruz. Several roads in Machico county have been turned into streams, dragging debris and parked cars. Some homes were flooded and agricultural land devastated. In Porto da Cruz, a landslide caused a hole in the roof of a house. In Santa Cruz, strong surf flooded the promenade and a garden in front of a hotel.

— Many videos on Diário website yesterday. VIDEOS

Today’s news headlines from the front page of the Diário de Notícias :

Today’s main news headline : Well actually there is only one real story : Bad weather around Madeira. Not a very imaginative headline I know, but the great photo, which takes up 90% of the front page, makes up for that HERE

From there it is just one weather story after another.



At the end of the day yesterday, the bad weather headed towards the South, with the sea invading the costal areas of the cities. Before that, during a night and a day, nourished [?] rain had spread chaos around the  island. It was a record rainfall in the city of Funchal. It has never rained so much in the space of 24 hours in Funchal. The measurements collected by the Meteorological Observatory in the city, between 9 am Monday and the same time yesterday, revealed a precipitation of 111 mm, thrashing the previous record of 90.6 mm in 1956. In Pico do Areeiro, the figure was 184.7 mm, which was in fact significantly lower than records from the past. The worst downpour measured was in Santana, where 36 mm fell in the space of an hour. The island was on a red weather alert during 9 hours yesterday, the highest level possible, after the forecast originally resulted in a yellow (third level) warning. Just picking out a few key points from the main article today about the weather, it talks of cars being swept away by the force of the water, houses flooded and some areas with access completely cut-off, like Curral das Freiras (Nun’s Valley). Communications were also cut off there, not just the landlines, but also mobile phones could not be used. The Diário reporting vehicle when trying to get to the area, in the end was left trapped on the access road between two landslides. The same thing happened to a Funchal bus, that had to wait to be freed. Loads of other stuff in the newspaper and on the TV, and the pictures and footage explain the situation much better than I can do in words. Also some great links and photos below from Tobi.

Santana was the county hardest hit, with landslides, areas cut-off, and families that lost what little they had. Several roads were impassable, and two schools were closed.

Porto da Cruz and parts of Machico awoke unrecognizable. Bad weather damaged parts of Machico, Porto da Cruz and Santa Cruz. Land slides caused a hole in a roof of a house in the Sítio do Massapez.

Schools closed in several districts and families had to leave their homes. Six schools were closed in total, due to the bad weather, but the situation should return to normal today.

More than ten roads closed – stretches closed as "precaution".

Shops flooded in ‘downtown’ – Although affected to a lesser extent, Funchal also didn’t ‘escape’ the effects of the bad weather.

In politics : Socialist Party of Madeira proposes a special tax for  concessionaires / franchisees – The PS-M want Via Litoral, Via Expresso, OPM and SDM to help to increase the revenues of the Region. Great idea to sting these public companies with an extra 2.5% tax, but I suspect that a close inspection of their accounts would show them all to be pretty much technically bankrupt already. Somehow I don’t see the PSD politicians, some with vested interests, voting in favour of this proposal.

TC [Auditors Tribunal] wants the ports to charge more through taxes.

The main sport / football headline today : Rúben participates in the Lions humiliation – FC Porto thumped (5 – 2) Sporting and heads to the semi-finals of the Portugal Cup. And what a fine performance from our local lad Rúben Micael, from Câmara de Lobos, who has slotted into the Porto team like a fresh crisp €500 note into Uncle Bertie’s back pocket. The lofted cross to set up Falcao for his goal was just perfection.

If anyone else can oblige with the translation of any of the ‘blank’ or sparsely filled headlines, or other news stories, here is the link. All contributions much appreciated. 

Tobi has kindly sent in some bad weather links … many thanks :

Santana Video
Funchal Video
Santa Cruz Video

PHOTO : Monster impact against the sea walls sending waves up a good 10/15 metres … The Forte de São Tiago disappears behind a wall of water!


If you can, please contribute something Madeira related. A funny story or good or bad experience, a news item, or a story from a Madeira newspaper, a photo or video, a teaser, news of a bargain flight or item in a supermarket. Please help keep this blog going … without user contributions it won’t survive. Please don’t send in automatic translations (like Google translator) without checking them through and correcting them first, thanks.

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11 thoughts on “Tourism from Brazil to increase ; Intense rainfall damages land & property ; Cruise ship blog”

  1. Well what a welcome back yesterday!! we were overhead around 1030 on time (due to land at 1040) one hour later no go and off to Tenerife, where they let us sit on the plane for one and a half hours. Then we ‘had’ to leave the plane with all the hand luggage etc. and go for drinks and something to eat – sounds good – ha ha. We were put in a transit room with two vending machines absolutely gross. Eventually back to the plane a couple more wines to keep us going and back to Madeira. The Captain said not too good and the plane ahead of him had to abort – you really need that info when you are about to go in!! Anyway he made a fantastic landing and the usual cheers went up – we got back 5 hours late!! Anyway to day looks a little better. Into clearing out cases, washing etc. so hopefully by Monday we will be back in school.

  2. Can you please help me with an enquiry. Do you know any free
    computer to landline calls on web? I used media ringtalk, that give me
    free 10 mins but that stoped as I am on Windows 7. I tryed Voipstunt,
    that worked once for 9 mins, then said you need credit. Any help would be
    warmly welcomed.

  3. Hi Pete

    There isn’t a totally free service to landline as far as I am aware only computer to computer, ie: skype – skype.
    However, once you have put 10 euros credit on Voipstunt you can then call any landline free for 120 days and with Skype again you need to put on 10 euros and then each call will cost a small amount per minute but you will be able to see how much you are spending.

  4. When Madeira has bad weather it produces the best in the region–Scary!
    Stormchaster Tobi’s photos are most interesting and informative.
    I couldn’t quite get to grips with the events until film and photos appeared.
    Thanks Tobi and also the picturetaker of the “running man”.

    Opening for a brolly and sou-wester shop?

  5. with some calls are free if both parties are registered. Otherwise the cost is very low when calling to a landline to landline, more to a cell. I think there may be a free intro offer.

  6. Pete, Voipstunt is what you need, its free to landlines, you put 10Euros on then you have 120 free days of calls , i think they have a fair usage policy of 300 mins a week , but i have never been over that, and i call family every day. Once you 120 days have finished you need to put another 10 euros for 120 free days, your first 10 euros rolls over so you dont lose it , and i use my built up credit to call mobiles to have a cheap month on my mobile every so often.

  7. The Diario photo is amazing… another great one with a statue appearing to try and stop the waves is at funchaldailyphoto (dot) blogspot (dot) com

    I don’t envy your journey back to Madeira, Sue… sounds like a complete nightmare. Hope the weather has calmed down now, but exciting to “watch” it from afar!


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