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Go to Portugal President Discusses Tourism Restoration, Attracting US Vacationers

The Portuguese Nationwide Tourism Board, extra extensively referred to as VisitPortugal, is celebrating what Luis Araújo, the group’s president, is looking the nation’s best-ever yr by way of tourism. Portugal’s rebounding customer arrivals come solely two years after pandemic shutdowns crippled the nation’s essential tourism trade.

American vacationers have been on the forefront of the tourism rebound. The 1.1 million U.S. guests Portugal drew in all of 2019 has already been reached in 2022.


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Now VisitPortugal is doubling down on the nation’s rising recognition with U.S. vacationers, working with key journey advisors and tour operators and growing its advertising and marketing of the nation in a number of U.S. cities.

This previous week, Go to Portugal partnered with Madame Tussauds Wax Museum to unveil a life-sized statue of Portuguese soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo in Instances Sq., New York. The occasion introduced maybe Portugal’s most acknowledged international determine to the eye of vacationers within the nation’s largest metropolis.

Through the unveiling, video and pictures of Portugal’s a number of environments, from lush forests and coastal areas to historic Lisbon, performed over each digital billboard within the well-known “Crossroads of the World.” The life-like statue is now on show on the Wax Museum.

We spoke with Araújo concerning the unveiling, the Instances Sq. billboard takeover and VisitPortugal’s marketing campaign to additional develop its U.S. customer base.

TP: What’s the tourism message behind the Cristiano Ronaldo statue unveiling?

LA: Right now’s occasion has to do with the truth that america is rising tremendously [for] our nation. It is already our fourth [-largest] market and has been growing since 2016.

Simply to present you an thought, we had double the variety of American vacationers that we had in 2017 [this year]. So the motion as we speak has to do with that. We’re beginning a particular and centered marketing campaign for america market, benefiting from Madame Tussauds museum displaying a brand new statue of Cristiano Ronaldo. As he’s Portuguese, we determined to hitch forces.

TP: What has made Portugal common with U.S. customers?

LA: I believe it has to do with a number of issues. To begin with is connectivity. We’ve so many flights to Portugal from completely different firms, together with United and Delta, [flying] from essential [cities] together with Newark, JFK, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington and Miami.

The second factor has to do with visibility. Through the two years of Covid, we had workshops each week with tour operators and journey brokers to particularly inform them concerning the variety of Portugal.

Luis Araújo, VisitPortugal
Luis Araújo, president of VisitPortugal. (photograph courtesy of VisitPortugal)

TP: How has this impacted the nation’s recognition with People?

LA: Portugal has grow to be the primary vacation spot for browsing within the searches in Google. Though it is a small nation, it has seven areas which can be very completely different and now we have been very energetic in showcasing that by way of our campaigns.

We’ve roughly minus 4 % of in a single day stays [this year] in contrast with 2019, however now we have 14 % extra of the revenues in contrast with 2019. So it has been a really optimistic yr, in reality, will probably be the most effective yr ever.

TP: How does your group regard American vacationers?

LA: The American vacationer is an excellent one as a result of they keep longer and so they journey contained in the nation. The expertise of the American vacationer in Portugal is a really optimistic one. They love the gastronomy and the landscapes.

It is a very protected nation to journey round even if you happen to’re a lady touring alone. You’ll be able to go anyplace within the nation. We regularly say now we have an enormous function as a tourism vacation spot which is welcoming everybody and respecting variations.

TP: As a tourism-reliant nation, how did Portugal climate the pandemic?

LA: Properly, I believe each vacation spot had two very tough years. We just about centered on the inner markets. That was the massive savior of our trade. [Tourism] represents roughly 12 % of Portuguese GDP and 10 % of the working pressure. In order that’s 400,000 folks.

We’ve a inhabitants of 10 million. It is a small nation however we welcomed 27 million company in 2019. So it is enormous what we did through the pandemic. After all, we did not know when it could cease and once we would welcome everybody once more.

TP: What was your technique to take care of the impression of journey shutdowns and post-outbreak journey restrictions?

LA: We determined we should always concentrate on communication-building, belief and being clear with what was taking place. We wished to maintain the hyperlink with stakeholders, not solely the vacationers that need to come to Portugal however [also] our companions within the markets in order that they perceive what are we doing that’s completely different.

TP: What did the pandemic expertise educate you and the way are you making use of that information?

LA: I might say that these two years for us have been an enormous studying curve. We couldn’t maintain doing issues the identical means, so we’re now just about centered on sustainability. Our essential key efficiency indicators are now not what number of company we welcome. After all, we’re nonetheless centered on the revenues however most necessary issue now’s the form of company we appeal to.

That is why we’re a lot centered on literary tourism and our modern artwork and structure. We simply launched some excursions in Portugal you can go to the nation’s trendy structure. I believe all of that is optimistic by way of how we carried out and we’re getting the outcomes.

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