Government strips tourism designation from Herdade da Comporta

 In News, Tourism

The Government has revoked the tourism utility classification from the Herdade da Comporta’s Comporta Dunes Hotel & Spa which five years ago was classified as the first large scale tourism project for post-crisis Portugal.

It basically means that the Government no longer sees the Herdade da Comporta development bought last year by Paula Amorim and Vanguard Properties as of strategic national economic importance and disqualifies it from getting any government-controlled EU development funds.
In a Government directive published on Friday in the Republic Circular and signed by the Secretary of State for Tourism,Ana Mendes Godinho, the decision to remove the special status was justified by a study conducted by Portugal’s tourism board, Turismo de Portugal which “will revoke the tourism utility classification” of the five-star hotel planned for Grândola.
The decision is to “revoke the tourism utility classification” which had been attributed on 2 January 2014 to Comporta Dunes Hotel & Spa in the Turismo de Portugal report of 14 January, 2019. The precise reasons behind the decision have not be reported.
In April 2013, the year in which the classification was granted, (normally awarded for projects which are deemed to be of strategic interest to the national economy) at an investment contract signing ceremony between the Herdade da Comporta and Portugal’s Overseas Investment Agency (AICEP), the Minister of the Economy at the time, Álvaro Santos Pereira classified the Comporta development as “the first large post-crisis investment in Portugal.”
The development company Herdade da Comporta was a company whose main shareholder was Rioforte, a subsidiary company belonging to the former Espírito Santo Group (59%). The development was to include a hotel, spa and 36 private villas as well as a golf course with the aim of transforming the Alentejo coastal region into a new European tourist destination in an investment of €92 million between 2013 and 2015 of which €16.4 million would be invested from European Union development funds (QREN).
The development land was eventually sold in 2018 by Gesfimo – the property management company which had set up a special closed fund, the Herdade da Comporta Special Closed Real Estate Investment Fund (FEIIF-HdC).
The consortium Amorim/Berda (Vanguard) was the only entity to deliver a purchase proposal for Herdade da Comporta of €158.2 million on 20 September after the other interested parties (Victor de Broglie/Global Assets Capital and Oakvest/Portugália/Sabina pulled out amid complaints of a lack of transparency and shifting goal posts.
French aristocrat Louis-Albert de Broglie who had bid for the land was particularly vociferous in his complaints insisting he had not quite the competitive race to purchase and develop the site but rather had been “forced out.”