Tourists will be walked to their beach spot at Portuguese beaches

Tourists will be walked to their beach spot at Portuguese beaches

May 26, 2020

Tourists will be walked to their spot on the beach in restaurant-style welcome to Portuguese beaches this summer to encourage social distancing

  • Algarve beaches will reopen on June 6 giving hope to British holidaymakers 
  • Authorities have said tourists won’t be made to wait to access the beaches
  • Beach assistants will be on hand to show beach-goers where their spot is
  • Spain will also hire 3,000 beach assistants this summer to enforce distancing 
  • Ryanair announced plans to restart flights to Portugal and Spain from June 1

Beachgoers will be walked to the spot where they can lay their towel in a restaurant-style welcome from June 6 on the most popular Brit beaches in Portugal.

The long-standing practice of most upmarket eateries or hotels of using hostesses to guide customers and clients to breakfast and dinner tables is set to be repeated this summer on the Algarve.

Authorities have made it clear tourists won’t be made to wait to access beaches, but will be given the option of their expertise to help them select the best place to top up their tans and stay safe.

Algarve beaches will officially open on June 6 and the prospect of Brits enjoying summer holidays there has been given a boost in recent weeks with talk of an ‘air corridor’ scheme between countries like the UK and Portugal.

Meanwhile, Ryanair today announced plans to restart flights to destinations including Portugal and Spain from July 1. 

Pictured: People enjoy the beach in Loule, Algarve, 24 May 2020. Algarve beaches are set to officially reopen on June 6

Joao Fernandes, head of the Algarve Tourism Board, said last week he was looking forward to the region being the British number one foreign holiday choice.

He welcomed the beach assistance scheme today as he claimed: ‘The initiative means Portugal is once again being a pioneer with regards to the balance between safety and leisure.

‘These beach assistants are going to improve the experience of beachgoers, who will be received by a young and knowledgeable person.

‘Tourism is an experience of people for people and despite social distancing, nothing stops us putting all our focus into a pleasant welcome of those that visit us.

‘There will be additional security measures, but we don’t want a beach to be a hospital.

‘It’s a place to enjoy holidays and where people have a right to relax.’

Antonio Pina, head of the Algarve Municipalities Association which is behind the initiative, added: ‘We have the obligation of conciling health guarantees with the comfort of those that visit us and the role of the beach assistants will be exactly that.

‘The beaches on the Algarve will be officially open from June 6, with a series of recommendations that protect bathers and offer every possible peace of mind to those who are on holiday.

‘We wanted to go a bit further by allocating to most of our beaches but especially the most popular ones, at least two assistants who would receive beachgoers, lead them to less congested areas, inform them about social distancing rules and suggest best practices while they are on the sand.

‘Town halls are currently working on hiring these people. We are focusing on recruiting young people, who are trained in tourism and speak several languages, so they will be more than prepared to receive those who come to our marvellous beaches.

‘They will be a type of host or concierge, if you like. They will have a relaxed and jovial profile and wear shorts and T-shirts.

‘We want them to be friendly figures capable of helping beachgoers in these times of uncertainty.’

The assistants will be there to ensure that people going to beaches in the Algarve are respecting social distancing rules in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus

Authorities in southern Spain announced on Sunday an ‘army’ of 3,000 beach assistants would be hired for this summer in areas like the Costa del Sol to make sure tourists obeyed social distancing rules.

But there was no indication they would offer a hostess-type service like the one that has been outlined for the Algarve region.

The Spanish beach assistants will be picked from a list of people who are currently unemployed and were given the chance earlier this year to register for temporary public sector jobs as part of a regional government initiative.

Nearly 600,000 people registered for seasonal work.

Andalucia’s president Juanma Moreno said their responsibilities would include ‘guaranteeing the safety of beachgoers through surveillance and organising social distancing.’

They will also be tasked with controlling access and limiting the numbers of people on the busiest beaches.

Although they will not be given police powers, the regional government chief said they would be expected to inform police about incidents so officers could intervene if necessary.

Describing the beach assistants as a ‘huge army’, he added: ‘They will enable us to organise in a planned way the opening of our beaches this summer.’

Pictured: Beautiful sandy beach near Lagos in Ponta da Piedade, Algarve region (stock image) one of the most popular destinations in Portugal for British tourists

Mr Moreno revealed his new plans for Spain’s southern beaches after the country’s PM Pedro Sanchez said foreign tourists would be welcomed back from July.

Mr Sanchez said in a live televised address on Saturday: ‘Spain receives each year more than 80 million visitors.

‘That’s why I’m announcing to you that from the month of July the entry of international tourism to Spain will restart in safety.

‘Foreign tourists can now start planning their holidays here.’

Low cost airline Ryanair today announced plans to restart flights to destinations including Portugal and Spain from July 1.

CEO Eddie Wilson said: ‘After four months of lockdown, we welcome these moves by Governments in Italy, Greece, Portugal, Spain and Cyprus to open their borders, remove travel restrictions and scrap ineffective quarantines.

‘Irish and British families, who have been subject to lockdown for the last 10 weeks, can now look forward to booking their much needed family holiday to Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, and other Mediterranean destinations, for July and August before the schools return in September.

‘Ryanair will be offering up to 1,000 daily flights from 1 July, and we have a range of low fare seat sales, perfect for that summer getaway, which we know many parents and their kids will be looking forward to as we move out of lockdown and into the school holidays.’· 

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