Beaches criticised. Ferry rumours. Regency Palace rumours. New Pestana brand.

Four beaches criticised for poor water quality

The Diario reported yesterday that four of the six Portuguese beaches revealed as having ‘poor’ water quality are in Madeira. Two are in Funchal – Poças do Gomes/Doca do Cavacas and Praia do Gorgulho – the latter is the stony beach below the Porto Mare and Enotel hotels in the Lido area west of Funchal. The other two are in Machico – S. Roque and Banda d`Além – the original stony beach and the artificial sandy beach next to each other (below).

The data was prepared by the Portuguese Environmental Association “Quercus” and is based on samples collected over the last four years (2011-2014) with the two parameters highlighted in the analysis being the presence or absence of intestinal enterococci and ‘Escherichia coli’.
The President of Frente MarFunchal, which looks after all the city’s seafront, said that the two beaches in question are “severely constrained by the amount of work that the south coast of the island has had in recent years". Also the seawater at Poças do Gomes/Doca do Cavacas is affected by currents and the water from the nearby Socorridos river (which empties into the sea towards Câmara do Lobos). The river entering into the sea in the middle of Machico will not help either.

Regional Government – talks on ferry return “underway”

Yesterday’s Diario reported the that the Board of the Regional Government, meeting yesterday in Quinta Vigia, under the presidency of Miguel Albuquerque, "decided to establish the necessary procedures and steps that will allow the restoration of maritime connection between Madeira and mainland Portugal for transporting passengers and cargo."
The regional secretary for the Environment and Natural Resources, Susana Prada, who was spokesman for the executive meeting, said that the efforts to resume Armas ferry operations are already underway. However, she declined to reveal details, as the matter is being handled by the Regional Secretary of Economy, Eduardo Jesus, who only returned to Madeira last night.
Strange how the island of Madeira seems to have completely disappeared on the Naveira Armas map from their website above?

Madeira Regency Palace latest

Still a deafening silence from the Regency Palace on their future plans, but a lot of people are confidently predicting that it will close at the end of June – the blog received the following e-mail earlier this week:

We own a timeshare at the Regency Palace and we are due to travel in July 2015. Our flights were booked until by chance one of MRP ex staff contacted us to say the Regency Palace was closing 30th June.

We have since been informed by the hotel that they are not taking bookings beyond the 30th June 2015. They suggest that the hotel management team are still in talks with the banks however for those set to travel in early July you may want to check with the hotel before you travel.

Re the future..I love the place and the people in it.. However given the adverse publicity and poor management of communication around the hotels future then I fear the damage to tourism is already done. When hundreds of people lose money on timeshare sold to help to boost the local economy then surely Madeira cannot expect the same people to return year after year to spend additional money on holidays to continue to boost their economy particularly when Europe is in recession and fewer than ever people are travelling. No brainer for me……should not have been allowed to go this long without communication to those affected

New Pestana corporate brand

Renew positioning and corporate identity worldwide cost over a million euros.

Pestana has invested €1 million in new graphic identity, designed by the Ogilvy PR agency, which incorporates a stylised "P" similar to the existing logo but also designed to resemble the traditional “pause” button icon (I must say that I didn’t immediately appreciate this until it was pointed out!). The idea is to sell the idea that time is the most valuable asset that their guests have, and that customers visiting the group’s hotels “will have the best time of their lives".’The Time of your life’ strapline completes the new brand concept. All of this is intended to create “the most noticeable image and strengthen the brand’s position in the international market”.

“Anthem of the Seas”

Monday afternoon sees the visit of Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, “Anthem of the Seas”. Weighing in at 167,800 this is a lot larger than P&O’s Britannia (141,000 tonnes). The ship features the “North Star” – a transparent pod that rises 300 feet above sea level and gives 360-degree views as it travels over the ship on a fifteen minute journey

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BA returns. Onion Festival. Igreja Matriz da Camacha

PHOTO of the WEEK

The planesandstuff blog last week photographed the return of BA to Madeira.
The British flag-carrier has reinstated flights between London Gatwick and Madeira several years after it suspended the route.The airline has commenced operating three flights a week, which will increase to five from June and drop again to four during winter – creating more than 30,000 seats on the route during summer, and 25,000 during winter. Fares start from £61.00 during the November – February period, and include food and a 23kg checked luggage allowance. The BA website promotes:

Escape to the Portuguese island idyll of Madeira, where some of Europe’s most spectacular scenery awaits. Fly with British Airways to the cosmopolitan capital, Funchal, and discover the myriad charms of this stunning destination.

Onion production increases

The region is forecast to produce 80% of the onions it consumes this year, reports the Diario at the start of the XVIII Festa da Cebola organised by the Junta de Freguesia do Caniço (there is a link to their Facebook site here with all the details). This is up 6% on the previous year and involves just under 100 hectares dedicated to the crop. Apparently onion imports have been steadily falling for some time, as the number of producers has climbed to nearly 1000 and the total crop weighing in at 3350 tons. Picking up on a theme in the last “Comments” section, just 30 tons were organically grown, commanding approximately twice the price.

Camacha church re-opens after restoration

Reopening happens today by 20:30.  Photos DR

The Igreja Matriz da Camacha will officially be re-opened tonight by the Bishop of Funchal after restoration work which started in January 2013 and has cost €275,000. The foundation stone of the church was laid in 1783. The completion of two further phases of restoration are planned, costing nearly €740,000.

High winds cancel flights and cause fatal accident

A couple of TAP flights into Madeira turned back last night (Friday) due to high winds at the airport – these, apparently, have been a feature for a lot of the last week. The corresponding return flights this morning have been cancelled. RTP Madeira report that an 8-year old girl died overnight after being badly hurt when an inflatable castle was blown onto the Via Rapida at Caniço

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CR7 donates £5m to Nepal. ‘Quinta do Lorde’.

Cristiano Ronaldo has a long history with the Save the Children charity.

Madeira’s favourite son, Cristiano Ronaldo, has reportedly donated £5m ($ 9.7m) to the charity Save the Children to help their aid efforts in Nepal after the earthquake which killed more than 8,000 people and injured another 20,000 last month, according to reports originating in France.
The French football magazine So Foot reports that the 30-year-old Real Madrid player made the donation having previously asked his 100m Facebook followers to support the charity. Other newspapers began to pick up on the unsubstantiated story over the weekend. CR7 has been no stranger to charitable acts throughout his career. Last year he paid for €60,000 worth of treatments for a 10-month-old boy with cortical dysplasia. He has also worked closely with Unicef and World Vision and in 2004 he flew to Indonesia having seen a survivor from the tsunami there wearing a shirt with his name on the back.

The Australian government’s aid assistance since the April 25 disaster stands at $11m, while the United States of America has donated $10m, according to foxsport.com

Reid’s Classic Auto Show a great success

The weekend saw the fourth Reid’s Palace Classic Auto Show as previously reported. 511 vehicles were displayed along the Estrada Monumental and Ribeiro Seco area over the bridge, including cars, motorbikes and bicycles. The Diario, where the photo above comes from, estimated crowds at 20,000 on Saturday alone (helped by excellent weather). The new President of the Regional Government, Miguel Albuquerque, attended the event.
The ‘Best of Show’ prize was awarded to a restored Mercedes 220 S Cabrio, and the “originality” award to a Riley 1,500, whilst the “elegance” award went to a Porsche 956 Coupe. Lots of videos on You Tube, some longer than others!

‘Quinta do Lorde’ in “special revitalisation process”

Image result for quinta do lorde madeiraJust two years after the inauguration of the ‘Quinta do Lorde’, the company that manages the tourist resort in Caniçal is €121 million in debt and applied last Thursday to the courts to enter a “special process of revitalization” (PER).
The PER process is intended to allow a debtor who is in financial difficulties or impending insolvency, but it is still likely to recover, establish negotiations with its creditors in order to reach an agreement that will allow it to further develop its business. Usually the agreement with creditors involves better debt settlement conditions (longer to pay, presumably). The company created by Ricardo Sousa has in the last two months been faced with two enforcement actions: from Meo (part of the PT group) to recover a debt of almost €200,000, and one of the Electricity Company of Madeira with a value of €287,000. The PER will involve the appointment of a provisional liquidator who will effective controls much of the company – and if agreement is not reached then assets are disposed of.

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