“Golden decade”. New York Times. Bread Fair. ‘Barreirinha’ lido.

imageThe Diario reported on Tuesday that “the last decade was a golden decade for the regional hospitality sector”. This referred to data from the Regional Directorate of Statistics showing that regional hospitality grossed € 2.4 billion over the past 10 years, a figure that  exceeded the values ​​recorded during the previous 20 years. This ‘golden decade’ saw Madeira welcome 25.8 million guests. I guess that this emphasises how much the island’s economy has come to completely depend on tourism.

New York Times

The blog was recently asked to provide background information and act as guide for the day when the European Sports Correspondent of the New York Times flew in from Paris to be joined by a photographer from Barcelona. Their interest, of course, was in a certain “soccer” player called Ronaldo, with the USA being in the same group as Portugal (they play each other on June 22nd). Apparently most Americans know only the one Portuguese player and naturally assume that he comes from the mainland. Quite an interesting day, meeting his cousin at the museum, sister at the CR7 shop, and former Presidents of his local club Andorinho. The outcome was the large feature in the NYT below, which did not go down well when the Diario covered it – a few readers took umbrage with the comparison of the poorer areas of Funchal to the “favelas” of Rio – but the most lasting impression was actually how poor the family were when he was young.


Talking of the (very modest and unassuming) photographer, Samuel Aranda, I didn’t realise I was having a beer with a winner of the World Press Photo of the Year!

Bread Fair

The Largo da Restauração (outside the Golden Gate) is this weekend hosting the XXV Regional Bread Fair, featuring breads from throughout the Island. The Lions Club of Funchal is responsible for the initiative, with the aim of raising funds to continue carrying out social projects on the island.

‘Barreirinha’ Lido to re-open

The “local” lido at the back of the Old Town (at the very end of the Rua de Santa Maria) is set to re-open on Moday – and in general a lot of the seafront works seem to be nearing completion at that end of town.

22 thoughts on ““Golden decade”. New York Times. Bread Fair. ‘Barreirinha’ lido.”

  1. “a few readers took umbrage with the comparison of the poorer areas of Funchal to the “favelas” of Rio ”

    I am not surprised. Apart from a tiny shanty town just up past Barreirinha no part of Funchal can be compared to the favelas.

  2. “This ‘golden decade’ saw Madeira welcome 25.8 million guests”

    I think that someone may have got their maths wrong,

    2.58 million visitors per year?

    215.000 visitors per month?

    7166 visitors per day?

    It would be interesting to see the ACTUAL figures and find out how much the hospitality sector nets along with their tax liability and payments to the islands coffers.

    This would equate to a annual island GDP of 240M Euro’s just from the hospitality industry.

    Add to this:

    Madeira Wine
    Taxable income

    Can the island achieve a GDP of 500M and what effect have the changes to Madeira’s offshore status had on the industry with particular attention being paid to businesses making their money on the island while being registered in an offshore corporate tax haven.

    All European public bodies are subject to freedom of information requests, might be interesting to put some forward to Madeira’s financas 🙂

  3. “All European public bodies are subject to freedom of information requests, might be interesting to put some forward to Madeira’s financas ”

    I am sure Uncle Bertie wouldn’t be happy 😮

  4. zemadeiran – I think the tourism stats are measured in terms of rooms occupied each night – so a week will count as seven “visits” etc. On this basis your 7166 above would be the average number of visitors staying each night – which sounds more feasible. I will try to clarify this.

  5. A follow up blog post on visitor stats would indeed be welcomed 🙂


    Uncle Bertie is really on his last legs and I for one cannot see him hanging on for much longer.

  6. To comply with the law all properties offering accommodation to tourists must be licenced. A villa or Appartment must have an ‘AL’ licence.
    Licenced properties then have to submit a monthly return to the Tourist Office recording the number of guests registering in the month, their nationality and the number of bed nights. There are still properties operating in Madeira in the ‘grey market’ where there is no record, Cameras are now clamping down by monitoring adds and a substantial fine awaits the transgressors!

  7. I have an apartment which is AL registered but I was unaware that we had to fill in a monthly return as I have never been told about it by either the camera or tourist office. Can you advise where I get these forms from. It is difficult to abide by the rules if the relevant authorities don’t give you the information!

  8. Jay. Our forms were sent to us, totally out of the blue, a couple of years ago! We knew nothing about them. However, you have the option to complete them online (for which they will give you a login address) or on paper and they have to be submitted monthly. The e-mail address I use is [email protected] and their telephone number is 291 720 060 (ext 207/208). We have found them very helpful – they have forwarded English questionnaires for us to be completed monthly.

  9. hi all, we are now living in madeira, can anyone tell me if there is somewhere where we can swap English books or any of your readers would like to swap. the book are crime and Josephine cox or similar, I have about 50 all in good condition. thank you, dave

  10. We recently submitted an application for an A L. We supplied gas and electrical compliance certificates. Obtained fire extinguishers as recommended by an engineer, put up all the necessary signage e.g exit signs, emergency numbers etc. Supplied evidence of ownership of the property together with a scaled drawing of the property. the application was then turned down we were told because the house does not have disabled access. with the best will in the world it would be impossible for our house to be disable friendly as I am sure it would be in a large number of rural properties in Madeira. Has anyone any idea whether this was a correct decision any how we can appeal against it.

  11. Re. Tourist licensing on Madeira ( A.L.) Has anyone been fined or knows of someone personally who has been fined for renting out their property without an A.L.?
    My application was turned down, I obtained all required safety certificates and fulfilled all requirements on the A.L. application form submitted it to the Camara paid the fee and then received a letter rejecting my application because I have steps up to the house and steps inside the house?? The letter from the Camara said that there is an EU regulation which states that all properties must have disabled access! I am now left in a position of having bookings and no license. What to do next Any advice anyone?

  12. Here you have the actual info from the horses mouth: http://dre.pt/pdf1s/2008/06/12100/0381503817.pdf

    Personally I would tell them to stick it and make them prove that it was not friends staying for a week…

    After all, you have paypal, bitcoin et all.

    I would just like to add that my parents live in the north of the island, I have however been brought up in London so am more of a pie and mash sort of fellow rather then semilhas… 🙂

  13. Tricky – we obtained our A.L. = Bed & Breakfast = in June 2009.
    The legislation (European) introduced 2008.

    It did away/by passed the need for Hotel style “bed allocation” subject SOLEY to the Tourist Board allocation…..no comment re financial requirements here….

    Our Guest rooms are all on the ground floor but I don’t think it was an issue at the time – all new stuff and Camara confused also…..
    Certainly as the application moved along “new” requirements sprang up – the electric/gas safety certs etc…..then the signage/fire ex’s provision….no mention of disabled access just vents/windows in all bathrooms….

    The “Bible” for ALL legislation aka A.L. IS indeed European “scripted” but/and is listed and described in full in the Portuguese “DIARIO DA REPUBLICA”.

    The Camara staff use this as their reference: = with the first listing of the A.L. scheme & requirement as PORTARIA number 517/2008 pages 3815 through to 3817

    I guess updates and NEW European rules (as ever) now apply and (I guess) there must be no discrimination to disabled/less fortunate folk BUT I would be interested to see if there is any difference between B&B (owners in situ 24 hrs) and Vila etc…..

    “Diário da República Series 1 – No. 121 – 23 de Junho 2008”

    YOU CAN VIEW THIS DOCUMENT ON LINE – by “cut and pasting” the above or trying for the new version(s) AT:

    Internet: http://dre.pt

    Updated 121 = Segunda-feira, 25 de junho de 2012 Número 121

    Maybe a 122 now!?!

    REFs: Depósito legal n.º 8814/85 ISSN 0870-9963

    Good luck everyone – there MUST be exemptions – in a sane world!
    Get the new document (on line) – I believe some is now in English – and search the requirements – maybe you can inform the Camara of any “clauses” etc…..

  14. All well and good zemadeiran my friend ….BUT way back in 2008 ish we were served with legal (?) papers and summoned to appear before the Tourist board = for allegedly advertising on the internet (and running) a B&B ….. they DO check. The threatened fine was up into the thousands…..we did indeed persuade them that we had only had friends and family to stay and that the web site(s) were for market research….!But it did prompt us to go legal and here is another powerful reason:

    Public liability/Indemnity

    A “guest” who sues you for damages – falling down steps/stairs etc. – could bankrupt you …..

    O.K. we were “threatened” by the Tourist Board and NOT the Camara – in the days when the money was to be made from them granting Hotel licences – apparently..

    But it is now stated fiscal/tax man policy to investigate paper & net advertising —- they call, offer to pay by cheque/bank/visa etc. and ask for the official receipt – which you MUST NOW HAVE and USE when registered with the A.L.- and promptly “do you” if you fail to provide…….

    AND the Camara is liaising with the tax officers….”stick it” won’t work anymore = especially as you need to “openly” advertise to get business – and it’s no good saying “oh we only advertise in the U.K. etc…..” A .co dot uk website still shows up on search engines here.

    Please do remember that the previous (twice) given ref may have been subject to amendment:

    “Diário da República Series 1 – No. 121 – 23 de Junho 2008″

    Please try to be legal, don’t forget your insurance exposure/risk, the Government really are clamping down on illegal establishments – the fines are hefty.

    Sorry to be Sr doom and gloom but I am sure that there MUST be some form of exemption – depending on number of beds/rooms offered – from FULL disabled access = check = good luck!

    ze honorary Madeiranese!

  15. Some good points outlined there 🙂

    A B&B vs a single apartment, I suppose what it really boils down to in Madeira is how many “Padrinhos” you have…

    To be brutally honest, it is probably one rule for the locals and many for expats 🙁

    Some bureaucrats must have received above inflation incomes to say the least over the preceding years.

    I am sure everyone here gets my drift.

  16. True Ze ….. the small apartHotel built opposite the Centro de Saude in Gaula was somewhat controversial ….. built/licenced at a time when (apparently) there was NO BED ALLOCATION …. but, allegedly the owners were in the Government circles that mattered ….. the Deputy Director of Tourism stuttered and spluttered when I asked him directly……still, it’s mostly empty now and must be losing money……..oh dear!
    But an eyesore and a blot on the landscape – – – again.

  17. A prime example if there ever was one…

    The last time I was in Madeira we stayed in Garajau, what an eyesore of a place 🙁

    I have always found that the majority of native Madeirans are oblivious to their surroundings, especially when it comes to environmental degradation which reminds me of the three monkeys…

    You only have to look at the mismanagement of Madeira’s forests and how decisions by learned professors and those apparently in the know has resulted in the annihilation of said forests and in turn caused both environmental and financial disasters.

    ” I am a permaculture freak also 🙂 ”

    Rest assured that entrenched blind eye turners are not limited to Madeira but pertain to Portugal as a whole which is why the country is in the state that it is in.

    Look on the bright side, at least your not in SPAIN!

  18. You can also change books at the English Church (Saturday coffee mornings are the best time). Normally when you bring books you do not pay if you come empty handed and need a couple of books they are 50c towards church funds.


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