The Portuguese finally woke up to a reality that has been imposing itself for decades and that has not until now awakened the interest of national investors: Naturist Tourism..
The recognition to the practice of naturism and the respect for those who live according to this philosophy of life and practice the activities that are inherent to it have guarantee of legal protection since 1994. This has now been strengthened by the new draft law presented to the Parliament by the Ecologist party “Os Verdes (The Greens). Why has the aspect of creating tourist offer in this area not followed the same vision?...
Yugoslavia was considered the “naturist paradise” in Europe. Since its dismemberment, Portugal has not known how to use to its advantage the void that was left and place in the market offers that are targets of vast demand and are a potential contribution to our economic balance. Only the poorly informed do not know of this.
Spain and France thrive in this market and Croatia is yet again a destination of choice.
12 of the 20 million European naturists buy “naturist vacations” every year. The United States add a potential of 40 million, alongside the rest of the world, including Canada, Brazil, Australia, Japan, etc, with populations of the upper-middle class that frequently take vacations abroad and where the naturist community is very strong.
A wonderful country, with one of the best climates in Europe, Portugal is one of the 15 most popular destinations in the world - we are talking about a potential of about 80 million possible customers.
This dead lock has finally ended!
Portugal has now arisen in a private initiative that will invest 15 million Euros in projects of infrastructures and services for naturists. It will reach the public in less than a year, by the Spring of 2011.
The project is called “EdNatura” and it and includes the construction of two tourist complexes, one on the western region of Portugal, the other in the stretch of the Costa Vicentina” in the Province of Algarve.
It all began three years ago and has been progressing by the hands of a Portuguese businessman, with great innovative vision but a discreet profile, who does not want to be exposed, for now, under the spotlight of the media (but promises to do so at the opening of the first venture). He has developed solid strategies for planning, organization and especially relationships for the viability of his intentions, both with the local government areas in question and with the Portuguese Tourism Branch.
Assurance was given to the competent authorities that the entire investment would be assumed by the promoting entity. "I do not want to be subsidy-dependent." - the entrepreneur told me - "I think Portugal depends too much on subsidies and I do not belong to that group."
The investor's position is that, at this time, "no names exist".
This is a reliable source that only wants to go public when it proves possible.
"We only want to go public when everything is ready to proceed with the works. Once the project and the Infrastructures are enabled, in 25 days we will build each of the complexes."
It was explained to me that this is also to avoid speculation. News of his intentions was published in the “Correio da Manhã” and it was just a "sneak peak" as to what was coming. This was at a time when he was negotiating the first land on the West Coast and the news made the owner double the price of the property from one day to the next.
In the meantime another land has been acquired for this purpose and the location of the first complex is already defined.
NAZARÉ, WEST COAST
The initial idea was near the beach of Salgado. But the council of Nazaré revealed that there was a geological problem, which would cost 1.7 million Euros to solve. So another location was found.
It will be built beside a beach between Nazaré and São Pedro de Moel and will occupy an area of 70.000m2.
The project consists of a fully landscaped tourist village, composed of 60 pre-fabricated villas, T1, T2 and T3, completely independent.
It will be a condominium, with a supermarket, swimming pool, restaurant, games room, bar, beauty salon, laundry, health club, sauna, Turkish bath, Jacuzzi, tennis court and a multipurpose sports field for basketball, soccer, etc.
It will have two exterior salt water pools and a secure zone leading to the beach, adjacent to the complex.
Each villa has its own parking and private garden.
Ready to move forward, the project is already known to the president of the local authority, with whom everything has been properly coordinated.
The opening is planned for spring (April-May) 2011.
ALGARVE, COSTA VICENTINA (West Coast)
Initially this project consisted of two complexes on the south side of River Tagus, one in the area of Meco and another in the West Coast of Algarve (Costa Vicentina). However, the possibility of obtaining a higher ground further south emerged. And the solution chosen was, rather than building two holiday villages similar to that of Nazaré, there would be only one but of much larger dimensions.
It will be located in the Algarve, but on the Costa Vicentina, near Alentejo.
The condominium will occupy a total area of 400,000 m2 and is designed with the same characteristics and infrastructures of the one in Nazaré, here with a minimum of 120 villas.
Such as the first, it will have direct access to the beach.
The opening is planned for a year after the first, in the Spring of 2012.
TYPES OF TOURISM
The tourist development of both projects will be done as is normal in all villages of this kind. The houses are rented for as long as intended and the guests have access to all facilities of the condominium.
It will have no spaces for camping or caravanning, consisting strictly on villas.
In both cases, 30 to 50% of the housing units will be placed on the market and sold to private owners. The owners may also rent them out to tourists when they’re not occupying the residence. This process is managed by the Condominium.
Privacy will be maintained as to the identities of the owners and it is estimated that the average cost of a T2 will be around 70/80 thousand Euros.
There are currently four houses already reserved by buyers interested in the complex of Nazaré.
The possible profits have not yet been estimated. Given the vast demand that this type of service has in the markets, especially the international, whatever the result it will certainly be a pleasant surprise.
The two projects will created up to 170 new jobs, with some seasonal hiring, but permanent staff will be assigned to secure all services 12 months per year.
It is expected the existence of temporary jobs in the high season for about 35 employees in Nazaré and 50 in the Algarve. This will reinforce the permanent staff of 35 employees in the first case and 50 in the second, who will work there full time.
Without prejudice to any developments that may be decided, both on the initial infrastructures and on other constructions, the investor is already considering to extend this offer to the interior of the country, including areas with river beaches and dams.
We were told that there is already a local authority "with a dam and a river of pure water, which enables high-quality tourism in the summer for naturists" interested in receiving this initiative. In this case the project will aim for small businesses with 5 to 8 villas.
However, according to the investor’s statement “Only after the first two gold medals”, referring to the projects in Nazaré and in the Algarve.
He promised to keep “Free Zone” informed with "first hand" news and we committed ourselves to disclose his news in real time, to the media and the general public.