Tourism in Portugal comes of age

Text: Susana Ribeiro
Photos: Viage Comigo

The last decade has been one of growth for tourism in Portugal and the international awards are proof of this and of international recognition. In recent years, Portugal has been elected several times as Leading European Destination and Leading Tourist Destination in the World, at the World Travel Awards (WTA), an event that also elected Porto, Lisbon, Madeira and the Algarve as the preferred destinations of voters. It is there-fore no wonder that in the most recent round of voting, Portugal had 60 nominations — Leading City Break, Leading City, Leading Cruise Port, Leading Tourist Attraction, Leading Diving Zone, etc. — all linked to tourism, in what are considered the Tourism Oscars.

In addition to the WTA, the World Tourism Organization (WTO) has also awarded Portugal with a unique prize: it has been classified as the first Accessible Tourism Destination in the World. This was the first time the WTO gave this award, in recognition of the effort to promote accessibility for people with disabilities and, thus, making Portugal an increasingly more inclusive destination. Recently, at ITB Berlin, in Germany, Portugal received the Best of Europe award, in the Sustain- able Destination category.

Condé Nast Traveler — one of the most prestigious travel magazines in the world — also helped grow the country’s tourism popularity, placing Portugal as the third Best Destination in the world in 2019 (and the best in Europe), in voting in which more than 600 thousand readers participated. In front of Portugal were Indonesia and Thailand, and the Top 5 also included Sri Lanka and South Africa.

The tourism figures in Portugal also prove its coming of age: according to data from the National Statistics Agency (INE), the “tourist accommodation sector registered 2.7 million guests and 7.1 million overnight stays in June 2019”, which is an increase of 9.7% and 5.6% compared to the previous month. According to Turismo de Portugal data, tourism revenues had a weight of 8.2% of GDP and represent 18.6% of global exports. Enjoy your travels!

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