Rui Barreto (on the right) inspecting the seaport facilities of Funchal, Source: Governo da Madeira

Madeira hopeful for a revival of maritime tourism

Madeira hopeful for a revival of maritime tourism

The archipelago’s Secretary for the Economy also expressed his stance on the return of ferry link to the mainland

On 25 August, Rui Barreto, Madeira’s Secretary of Economy, paid a visit to Gare Marítima do Funchal, the seaport terminal of the island’s capital and its major gateway. He observed works of improvement that the facility is undergoing and declared with a dose of optimism that there are already cruise ship appointments for the port in October.

Due to its geographic location in the midst of the Atlantic Ocean, Madeira is a major destination and stopover point for cruise ships. As such, the regional tourism economy was deeply impacted by the sudden halt of that industry in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

What about a ferry between Madeira and continental Portugal?

The Secretariat of Economy is now directly responsible for the management of the Administration of Ports of the Autonomous Region of Madeira (APRAM) and this was the first visit of the high ranking official to the seaport since the transfer of authority. The Administration manages 3 ports and 11 wharves in the autonomous region.

For October, there are 111 docking appointments for cruise ships, which reveals an encouraging sign for the future," declared Barreto, recalling that the market recovery is dependent on safety and confidence issues in the market itself.

The Secretary took the opportunity to visit and get to know the offices of the Technical and Administrative Services, being accompanied by the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Paula Cabaço, to whom he expressed “total confidence".

Rui Barreto was also asked to comment on the recent news that the leader of the Portuguese Socialist Party, had promised to "resurrect" the question of the ferry at the ruling Party’s National Congress. Currently, there is no ferry service between the mainland and Madeira, with the last such having been provided by a Spanish company from the Canary Islands.

"Yes to a ferry, but not by skinning the Madeiran taxpayer with obligations that are enshrined in the Constitution and which are the responsibilities of the Government of the Republic,” was his comment.

He added that “if any shipowner wants to carry out the operation, he can do it at any time. If this shipowner needs state aid, then it is up to the Government of the Republic to ensure through the principle of territorial continuity”.

Rui Barreto explained that APRAM had exempted the previous operating company from paying fees in the last concession made more than three years ago.



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