Hills Balfour Synergy is charged with helping to increase the 1.2m visitors a year from the UK to the Algarve. Last year, despite the McCann saga and the death of four adults in a drowning
accident, visitors rose by ten per cent.
‘Most people realise the unfortunate incidents could have happened anywhere, they just happened in Portugal,' argued Hills Balfour Synergy PR director Jonathan Sloan.
‘We will reassure visitors that the Algarve is safe, friendly and welcoming.'
Another part of the agency's remit is to increase visitor knowledge of lesser-known regions within the eastern and western Algarve. The agency will also be on hand if needed for crisis comms.
The Algarve region has brought in agency support after the Portuguese government changed its PR tactics last year.
Two months ago, Portugal brought in Biss Lancaster for a £1m wide-ranging brief that included supporting tourism and inward investment (PRWeek, 1 December 2007).