tourism boom, does quality tourism also include ‘Local Accommodation’?
‘Local Accommodation’ has proved a failure of coordination
of interests, because it should have been negotiated between three parties:
tourism itself, the real estate sector and the tourism sector. One thing I
suggested, and which is now changing, is the fact that ‘Local Accommodation’
have to pay slightly more condominium fees than permanent residents. This has
already alleviated many things. Anyhow, there have to be rules.
example, a large number of regeneration projects are being made with little
regard to quality. Does the mistake lie in there being no one to control this?
The builders’ lobbying managed to get the
government to deregulate normal safety rules. There are quality projects, but
some are taking advantage of the huge increase in demand, which could lead to
increasingly safe, stable, has an excellent climate, resorts, golf courses...
In your view will this excessive demand in real estate and tourism continue?
Portugal has really had its virtues discovered:
peace, climate, security and good food. We will need developments to the extent
that foreigners, who initially only came through tourism, now also come for
business. It is something to be discussed and advised upon by that strategic
council I was suggesting. There should be support offices for companies moving
to Portugal to help them integrate. There will be more construction, greater
demand for developments. I see, for example, in the area immediately south of
the Tagus, a potential zone for creating developments.
launched ‘Lisbon Green Valley’ at Belas Clube de Campo. Is it a special
We have a country club, which offers leisure and
housing and is 15 minutes from the centre of a capital city (Lisbon). There is
nothing like it elsewhere in the world. I myself lived here, before going to
Lisbon and now I’m coming back. Here there is no pollution, there is no noise,
and it is very close.
You have been
involved in the construction of several golf courses. We have world-class golf
courses. Nevertheless, they are focused in the Algarve and Lisbon. Should we
not expand course locations to the rest of the country, for example, inland?
No. I’ll explain why. In the Algarve, 90% of
golfers are foreigners and, in Lisbon, 10% are foreigners. There are very few
national players. Unfortunately there has been no joint effort between promoters,
the state and the Portuguese Golf Federation to develop golf in Portugal.
Inland there are no players, and tourists don’t go somewhere with only one
course; they want to play several courses that are easy to get to. To them to
exist there would have to be a golf culture, which does not exist.
In life, as
in golf, have you always hit the right shots?
No. I’ve hit myself. I’ve made many mistakes. To
get it right, you must also be in an emotional state that allows your reasoning
to work. (he laughs)
isn’t always the case?
Not always. When I came here, after a troubled
life and the death of my father, tourism already existed, and was already
beginning to succeed. I also contributed to the tourist developments of the
Algarve not being nationalized. At that time, we proposed a plan to the government
to support the developments, for them to survive and not be nationalised. The
government accepted, but then the unions and the bankers wanted to support the
plan, but demanded that the management be kicked out. To save the development
and the jobs we had to leave. We drew up an authorisation, from the management
of our company, for the workers commission to manage the company, because
otherwise the company would go down for lack of money. A few years later, we
were called to resume our position. Tourism was saved.
«Local accommodation has proved a failure of coordination
centre-left man. What do you think about the ‘geringonça’ parliamentary coalition?
I’m a social democrat; I am in favour of free
enterprise, and at the same time social support measures. I think the geringonça is a political resource that came
to incorporate the so-called ‘arc of governance’. Two influential parties, but unable
to get to power. But, I am in favour of a general agreement, with all parties,
on a national programme of economic development and consolidation. Ideological
politics is dead; it’s over, so much so that we elected an almost post ideological president. Marcelo is the
world’s first president, who, even if he has ideological ideas, has abandoned
them for practical purposes. He is an example, curious and unexpected, of an
almost post ideological politician.
On the one
hand, we have the man with social concerns; on the other we have the
businessman. How do you ‘manage’ political ideas?
I have had situations of being at a dinner or
lunch - for example, for the election of Mário Soares and of Diogo Freitas de
Amaral, of whom I was and am a friend - and each of the 40/50 people are in
favour of Freitas de Amaral and, when I said I was for Mário Soares, the least
they said was «You’re not Portuguese». They were all furious; any worse and
they would have thrown me out. There are people in my social sector, who are
very right-wing and very conservative, and they think that anyone who isn’t like
that is a communist.
Is that not the
No, of course not. I’ve always been very
believe that tourism in Portugal will continue to be the country’s main
economic activity / source of revenue?
It is already. And this isn’t recognised. We can
have new technologies, industries, such as the textile or footwear, etc., contributing
to the country’s economy, but the only activity that can really generate major
revenue is tourism and tourism-related real estate.
should the state and entrepreneurs take?
It depends on a greater coordination of strategy
between the state and the private sector, to carefully analyse the tax aspect,
to see what measures can be taken, without harming the country. The country
deserves a minister of exceptional class for tourism.
Do you agree
with the tax applied in Lisbon to tourists? They also want to implement this in
Oporto. In your view, should it cover the whole country?
I agree. It doesn’t apply to the whole country
because outside Lisbon, Porto, Algarve, Madeira and the Azores, there is no
Were you in
was. I was a member of the Advisory Council of the Association of Hoteliers of
Portugal, when Fernando Medina went there to propose the tax. There was a great
deal of noise, with everyone saying they were against it, but Medina listened, and
listened, and when it came to an end he said: «Oh, but I’m going to apply the tax
anyway». It has proved a success
managed by a group made up of the council, Lisbon Tourist Board and AHP
(Portuguese Hotel Association).
been given awards for the best Tourism
Real Estate Developer. You are a man who is proud of your career. Has there
been any award that has stood out for you?
That’s a good question; no one has ever asked it
before. The Mayor of Loulé gave me a gold medal from Loulé and told me: «This
means nothing to you, you have so many awards». I replied: «To be recognised by
the people of this place...do you really think it means nothing to me?» Of
course it does. Each award has its value. I love receiving them.
What is the
best thing in life, in your opinion?
Living is a miracle. Living life, in all its
good and bad, but the very best is love. Love includes friendship, because
friendship is a form of love. When you reach a certain point in your life, you appreciate
it a lot. I really appreciate the people I like, who I love, and who like me.
What books do
you like to read?
I am a compulsive reader, but I haven’t read
fiction for many decades. I read, during my youth, all English, French, German,
Brazilian and American fiction. I read many books on politics, biographies and
am addicted to information. I read newspapers, I read magazines, I read on the
Internet, I watch television, I have to know everything. I know more about
Trump’s life than he does. (he laughs)
Is that how
you fill your days?
It’s one of the main things. I spend a lot of
time alone and if I don’t have information I get nervous. I love to walk, I love
to swim, I do some exercises, I chat and I spend time with my children and my
in the first interview you gave to Villas&Golfe,
you were asked: «What would André Jordan feel if he were sitting alone on the
moon, looking up at the Earth in the sky?» How would you answer today? How do
you look at the world, at the Earth?
What did I say back then?
was, and I quote: «The moon is inside me»
Oh, how lovely!, but, I speak to the moon,
because it is the star of loves.