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Ponta Delgada ,  February 23, 2010

Government will operate golf courses on São Miguel to ensure the quality required by the tourism offer

The Vice-President of the Regional Government announced at a press conference that was held in Ponta Delgada on Tuesday afternoon the decision to sign with Verdegolf, S.A., a commercial rental contract of the Batalha and Furnas golf courses, which includes their respective structures and annexed equipments, on the island of São Miguel.

Under this contract, which is a valid for a one-year period starting on March 1, that company transfers, free of charges, the operation of the aforementioned golf courses, thus enabling the provision of high quality Golf in the context of the qualification of the regional tourism offer.

Sérgio Ávila explained that the Government of the Azores has monitored the evolution the economic and financial situation of the Azorean companies on a permanent basis and concluded that, in the case of the company Verdegolf, its economic difficulties resulted in the momentarily incapacity to meet its financial obligations to their workers and suppliers, thus making the operation of the Batalha and Furnas golf courses with the quality levels required under the Azorean tourism offer impracticable. 

The Vice-President considered that the difficulties of Verdegolf have arisen due to the economic context, for that reason the acquisition by the Azorean Government of any percentage of ownership of the company is neither justified nor is comprised in the development strategy of the Region. Moreover, the viability of the company is not dependent on that type of public intervention.

Therefore, the initiative of the Regional Government takes into account that fact that Golf is an activity of strategic interest for the promotion of the Azores as a tourist destination, being fundamental to the qualification of the tourism offer as well as to the sustainability of the tourism sector in the Azores. It is essential for the development of the regional productive structure.

For Sérgio Ávila, under the commercial rental contract to be signed this week, the Government of the Azores, through the company Ilhas de Valor, S.A., will ensure the management of those infrastructures, assuming the income and the costs resulting from their operation, guaranteeing high standards of service provision and meeting all the obligations to their employees and suppliers. The Vice-President added that the operational result of each contract period, with regard to the part supported by the Region, will be a debt of the assignor (Verdegolf) to the company Ilhas de Valor, S.A., to be settled within one year, without any economic or asset burden for the Azores, thus safeguarding the return of the investment to be made.

With this measure, which Sérgio Ávila considers to be innovative, the Regional Government ensures the provision of high quality Golf, the economic and financial stability of the Batalha and Furnas golf courses, the maintenance of jobs in this sector and the settlement of debts to suppliers.

Furthermore, the press conference was also attended by the Regional Secretary for the Economy, who pointed out the importance of golf as structuring element in the tourism development strategy in the Azores.

One should remind that in addition to this intervention, the Regional Government has already financed the renewal of the Golf Course of Terceira Island in the amount of 2.7 million Euros and will launch the public call for tenders for the construction of a new golf course on Santa Maria. The Government is also developing efforts to establish financial partnerships deemed necessary for the implementation of a golf course on the island of Faial.


Official government press-releases presented in all foreign languages interfaces of the Azorean Government Portal (Portal do Governo dos Açores) are a sub-set of the government's official press-releases daily output and are chosen for translation and publication on the foreign language interfaces based on audience segmentation criteria. The entire collection of the Azorean government press-releases is available in portuguese, here, from the GACS Press Office site.

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