Opposition leader emphasises dependence on tourism
JM reports that the leader of the main opposition party in Madeira, Paulo Cafôfo, in a speech to a socialist party gathering, has said that he considers that “we are the region of the country most affected economically, precisely due to our dependence on Tourism”.
In his speech, the PS leader orrectly observed that tourism was going downhill in the Region prior to the arrival of COVID-19: “This dependence does not come from now. Before the coronavirus, the Region already had, in the past year, numbers that indicated a decrease in activity, since the income, the number of tourists and the average stay here in the Region”, the former mayor of Funchal said, referring that “the pandemic does not justify everything”.
Cafôfo also says that Madeira “has to position itself to take advantage of favorable epidemiological conditions”, recalling that there were no deaths and the number of infected people in Madeira is reduced, so it is necessary to use this confidence to attract tourists.
In this respect he is quite correct – Madeira, long term, may well benefit from the awful pandemic. In the short term, the economic recovery may be accelerated now that the island is being treated regionally by the UK, and no longer being bracketed with mainland Portugal.
Madeira must be proactive
At the same conference, Cafôfo emphasized that “we cannot wait for a vaccine, nor wait for tourists to decide to travel, we must be proactive”. He believes that because trust is a “determining factor”, it would be essential to create a regional fund to attract direct air routes. He staes the obvious: “Having direct flights to the Region has never made so much sense,” he stressed.
“The Regional Government awarded, in 2017, for the creation of a new brand, 500 thousand euros. This brand is still in the drawer and this is the opportunity to really be able to have a new brand and a new image to be successful in promoting the destiny Madeira”.
Socialist Party on the ascendency in Madeira
In September 2019, the Social Democratic Party PSD-Madeira, led by Miguel Albuquerque, continued their 43-year streak of being the largest party in the Madeiran legislature, but failed to hold on to their absolute majority, and required a coalition for the first time to remain in power. The party won 39% of the votes, a decrease of 5%, and lost 3 members of the regional party. In the electoral map, the PSD lost the two biggest cities in Madeira, Funchal and Santa Cruz to the PS, with the Socialist Party surging in these elections, polling just two seats and 3.6% behind the PSD.
COVID-19 latest figures
Updates to the latest COVID-19 statistics are being made on Monday’s post