Under the Spotlight

Dutch entrepreneur Erik de Vlieger talks about his real estate ventures.

Famous back in his native Holland for being the number one radio chat show host and television personality, 56 year old Erik de Vlieger is set to become one of the Algarve’s biggest entrepreneurs. His lively, energetic and inquisitive nature, not only make him a great entrepreneur, but also the ideal candidate to inject some much-needed innovation into Carvoeiro’s real estate scene.

He has acquired a wealth of experience throughout his diverse career, which he initiated in the family’s sewing machine business. He then went on to conquer the Dutch media and invested in real estate in several European countries. A natural extrovert, he talks with great ease, but also expresses himself through art, his favourite hobby being painting on large canvases.

As soon as we meet him it’s easy to understand why he is the most famous and controversial radio host in Holland. Not afraid of voicing his opinions, he has almost been suspended from the show on several occasions. But, although he describes himself as a clown, he is a serious businessman. “I’m a Dutch businessman, we are known for our tough negotiation skills,” he says. He’s an entrepreneurial chameleon, adapting his skills and know-how to every new business opportunity.

Investing in Portugal was a good choice for him, “It’s so much cheaper than the rest of Europe,” he insists. And, to top it all, he fell in love with the Algarve, “with its people and their friendliness.” According to Erik, “life in Holland is so hard, here everything feels much lighter”. He first came to Portugal in 1996, to view a piece of land close to Lagos, part of the “Match Algarve” project, a large sporting facility, where professional football teams would come to train. In addition to football pitches, facilities for other sports, such as rugby, tennis and footgolf had also been planned.

Sadly the project never took off, due to trouble in obtaining licences. This year, 20 years on, the paperwork has finally been approved and the project may soon see the light of day, becoming a great asset for the Algarve. “This will not only attract professional football teams during the high season but also amateurs off peak, helping with the region’s seasonality,” he claims.

Erik doesn’t like to waste time and needs to keep himself busy, ensuring that his businesses are profitable. The first person in the office every morning, he sets an example for his hard-working staff. At the moment he seems to have a finger in every pie. Besides “Match Algarve” he is also involved in the rehabilitation of the Mabor building, in the centre of Portimão. But his biggest project is the Carvoeiro Club Group, which he is rapidly expanding, together with his partner and friend Andreas Stocker, whom he met 10 years ago, when de Vlieger bought Stocker’s house in Carvoeiro. “I don’t believe in working with friends, it can be dangerous and ruin a relationship, but with Andy it’s different,” says de Vlieger.

Last November they bought the Quinta do Paraíso resort, adding it to their already impressive portfolio of Carvoeiro Clube, Monte Carvoeiro, Algarve Clube Atlantico, Presa de Moura, Monte Dourado resorts and the real estate company Quinta da Palmeira. And when the time came to choose the right managing director for the group, they didn’t have to look far. Having managed Quinta do Paraíso for more than 20 years, Swiss-born Patricia Bürer was the obvious choice.

Carvoeiro Club already offers a great choice of services, ranging from property administration to gardening and even tax and rental assistance. With almost 200 employees and more than 300 managed properties in six different holiday resorts and three large servicing agreements in resorts in the area of Carvoeiro, the Carvoeiro Clube Group is the largest tourism enterprise in the Carvoeiro-Lagoa area.

But that’s not enough for de Vlieger, who is always one step ahead, planning the next expansion. “The plan is to take over and manage more tourist developments,” he says. Not only in the Carvoeiro area, but also towards Armação de Pêra, Ferragudo, Portimão and even Lagos. “We want to become the biggest resort in the Algarve!”

Text Alexandra Stilwell




Author: Inside Carvoeiro

Share This Post On