WTM 2015: UK tourists warm to Portugal's lesser-known regions

WTM 2015: UK tourists warm to Portugal's lesser-known regions

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With UK visitor numbers up 7.1% year on year up to August 2015, more Britons are holidaying in Portugal.

The fastest growth is coming from the least established destinations and regions, according to Turismo de Portugal president Joao Cotrim de Figueiredo. “The UK is our most important market and has been very dependent on the sun and beach sector, but this is moving. For a long time 75% of stays were in the Algarve and Madeira, but this is changing.”

The Azores saw 40% growth from the UK this year, following the launch of Ryanair flights in April, and the Alentejo (pictured) rose 26%.

“Both of these have a lot to offer specific segments,” said Cotrim de Figueiredo. “The Azores appeal to travellers over 50 who are in love with nature, and the Alentejo to younger, more alternative visitors who enjoy the new age, spiritual side of travel and who are quite affluent.”

The tourist board wants to work more closely with the UK trade to promote the country’s diversity, and Cotrim de Figueiredo forsees a 15% increase in money and time dedicated to the UK market in 2016.

Turismo de Portugal has adapted its promotional strategy, moving from no online promotion two and a half years ago to now 100% of its direct-to-consumer marketing happening online, with a focus on promoting third party testimonials and user generated content to convey the warmth of the Portuguese welcome.

A year and a half ago initiatives were launched to promote tourism entrepreneurship, and now tourism is responsible for 15% of GDP but 40% of start-up businesses in the country.


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