Travel trade members were welcomed to a VIP luncheon with the Portuguese National Tourist Office, joined by 15 partners from the country’s tourism industry.
Representatives were present from a wide range of travel businesses, such as airlines, travel agencies and hotels, looking to promote the many tourism draws offered by Portugal. With a population of approximately 10.6 million, the travel industry represents 8.5 per cent of Portugal’s GDP and accounts for eight per cent of the country’s employment, according to Portuguese Consul General Luis Barros.
The country’s small size is also an advantage for tourism, Barros said, noting that within the space of a few hours, travellers can experience a wide range of climates and tourism opportunities, from the beaches and surfing hotspots of Algarve in the south to the wine and cuisine of Alentejo.
“You can have an interesting vacation without too much travel internally,” said William Delgado, manager of the Portuguese National Tourist Office in Toronto.
Delgado explained that while Portugal’s seven unique regions each market their own travel opportunities, they all work together to promote the country’s tourism industry as a whole. Fifteen UNESCO world heritage sites are found throughout Portugal as well, Delgado said.
In 2014, Delgado said that more than 141,000 Canadians visited Portugal, an almost 25 per cent increase over the previous year. Overall, the country welcomed 14 million international visitors last year, he said.
For Canadian travellers, flights to Portugal are available from Air Canada rouge, which offers five weekly flights between June and October from Toronto this year; Transat, which has increased capacity by 14 per cent on its May-October service from Toronto and Montreal; and SATA International, flying from Toronto and Montreal between April and September.