National travel and tourism industry resilient to the crisis
Regardless of all the financial adversity that has been affecting Europe, and in particular Portugal, the travel and tourism industry was capable of adapting to this harsh landscape and the most important indicators registered solid performances. Turismo de Portugal’s efforts to promote the industry, whether internally or abroad, and its alliances with local associations were crucial in achieving positive results.
International recognition and awards fuelling inbound flows
Over 2013 and the beginning of 2014, the Portuguese travel and tourism industry was awarded with numerous recognitions from international bodies. Lisbon was considered as the best European destination for city breaks and as the best European cruise destination in the Word Travel Awards. In parallel, this event elected the Algarve as the best European beach destination and Madeira as the best European island destination. Porto and the Azores were respectively awarded the best European destination for 2014 by European Consumers Choice and the European preferred destination for 2014 by The European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators’ Association. These awards stimulated demand and attracted international tourists, which could be seen in the strong performance of arrival indicators.
Online channel outperforms offline sales in travel and tourism
Concerns about online purchasing have been gradually fading away and the Portuguese travel and tourism industry reflected this trend. Fuelled by lower prices offered by online retailers and online intermediaries, tourists have become much more receptive to purchasing tourism products through the internet. Over 2012-2013, discount websites such as Forretas, Groupon and Lifecooler, among many others, became increasingly interested in selling travel and tourism products and this fact helped increase penetration of the online channel, which is becoming increasingly popular in Portugal and is threatening offline sales.
Low-cost offerings continue to boost the Portuguese travel and tourism industry
Portugal as a whole, and specifically some cities, such as Lisbon, Faro and in particular Porto, have been domestically and especially internationally recognised as low-cost cities and as places where travelling is relatively cheap. The outstanding penetration of low cost carriers that provide tourists with very affordable air connections and the growth of trendy hostels enabled the development of low-cost offerings. In fact, even luxury tourism is Portugal is considered affordable due to the low prices offered by 4- and 5-star hotels; however, there is a potential threat of depreciation within the industry if the quality of services is not fully maintained due to the lower prices offered.
New opportunities set to fuel overall indicators
The Portuguese travel and tourism industry already has existing potential, namely cultural and heritage tourism, beach tourism, rural tourism and low-cost tourism, among many others. In order to differentiate from other countries, which also offer such activities, other tourism options are expected to be promoted. Sea sports tourism, namely surfing and sailing, golf tourism, residential tourism and cruise tourism are some of the newer concepts that are expected to boost the performance of the overall industry during the forecast period and that consequently have been highlighted during events and presentations.
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The Travel and Tourism in Portugal market research report includes:
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