Publisher Bruce Hawker reflects on two decades in the life of Essential Algarve
At the turn of the millennium, the Algarve was buzzing with activity and many of us running businesses in the region saw the year 2000 as an opportunity to do something new. At the time, we were mostly busy publishing magazines and promotional literature for other companies such as hotels and resorts around Portugal, but the idea was hatched to give the Algarve a high-quality lifestyle magazine and on June 1, the launch issue of Essential Algarve hit the streets.
The cover was graced by Luciano Pavarotti, who at the time was giving a concert in Faro, and the magazine was published as a bilingual English/German edition. From the outset, Essential set out to be a showcase of the very best the Algarve has to offer, from food and wine to art, real estate, interior décor and much more. The formula struck a chord, not only with readers and advertisers but also with the Algarve’s hospitality industry as the magazine became essential reading for the guests of the leading five-star hotels all along the coast with in-room distribution.
In 2004, the decision was taken to drop the German language in our magazine and replace it with Portuguese, along with introducing a slight change in editorial policy. We wanted the publication to appeal to visitors and to residents — both foreign and Portuguese. This involved curating editorial content that excluded any articles that may only be of interest to visitors, with a focus on informed, quality writing and the best photography.
The magazine prospered and, by the time the last financial crises hit in 2009, Essential Algarve had spawned offshoot Essential magazines in both Lisbon and Madeira. In 2010, our company was fortunate to take on board an investor, which enabled us to carry on through the worse years of the recession and later expand as a publishing group.
And now, here we are in 2020. As I write this in June, this magazine should have been out in the newsstands and in the rooms of our hotel distribution partners. But the COVID-19 outbreak forced us to suspend publication since the pandemic hit back in March. Fortunately, our company was and is in a strong enough position to ride out this latest crises, meaning there have been no job losses and whilst we are licking our wounds we are very proud to present this special 20th anniversary edition.
I would like to say a special thank you to all of our loyal advertisers who have supported us in this edition and over the years.