A call to end the A22 toll from the Algarve tourism sector

Algarve A22 tolls 2012

Three major figures leading the Algarve tourism sector have recently called for the immediate suspicion of the very controversial toll charges on the A22 motorway – Via do Infante – one of them describing them as being a “gross economic, political and social error”.

Why has this not happened sooner? Well the protest was sparked by the decision of the Portuguese Government to not extend the exemption granted to residents beyond the end of September, even if by all accounts the tourism sector was on the whole expecting it.

Eliderico Viegas, a major representative of the Algarve tourism sector said that when it comes to these tolls there should be no discrimination between residents of the Algarve and those visiting, so they tolls should be suspended completely; further stating that the introduction of the tolls has shown to be an anti-tourism decision and thus against the interests of the entire region.

He backed up these claims by pointing out the fifty percent reduction in traffic on the A22 highway and a whopping twenty percent drop in the number of tourists coming from Spain, saying that these were enough reasons to eliminate the tolls immediately. The Algarve car rental industry and Faro airport transfers services has seen some problems as well.

Antonio Pina, the President of the Algarve Tourism Board, said that he too wasn’t surprised by the Government’s decision but also mentioned that it does threaten to be the ‘blow that would sink the Tourism Algarve ship’, pretty strong words indeed.

He continued to say that there is an urgent need to completely suspend the A22 tolls as well as oppose any and all attempt by the Government to either extend or withdraw any exemption for residents because this is an unacceptable discriminatory policy.

Will the 1st of October protest combined with these harsh words from leading figures in the Algarve tourism sector sway the Government in any way? We have no way of knowing that, we’ll just keep an eye on what happens in the future of A22 toll and report on it.