The Motto for 2020: Take a Staycation

Words: Susana Ribeiro

While every sector of the economy has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, tourism will undoubtedly be one of the industries that will need to make the most changes over the short- and long-term. How will the world of travel adapt to this new reality?

The Portuguese tourism slogan “Vá para fora, cá dentro” (take a staycation) has never been more apt. After living in a world that is at a standstill and waiting for better days, now more than ever we are yearning to wander through the Portuguese landscape to revive memories of our national beauty. And while travel is currently suspended, Portugal continues to be discovered by the world – and has the international awards to show for it — while the Portuguese have themselves always been a nation of explorers. The Madeira and Azores islands are just two examples of archipelagos with many idyllic locations, and which have retained a certain mystique.

There remain so many secret places on these beautiful islands that it is no surprise foreign publications call them “the best-kept secrets of the Atlantic Ocean”.

While Madeira, with its UNESCO World Heritage Laurisilva forest, is described as the Garden of the Atlantic, each of the nine Azores islands has their own charm.

At the 2019 World Tourism Awards (TWA), Portugal was nominated in more than 60 categories, with Madeira being named Europe’s Leading Island Destination and the World’s Leading Island Destination in the tourism Oscars in each of the past five years! The Azores were nominated in the World’s Leading Destination for Diving.

Angra do Heroísmo, on the island of Terceira, was the first place in Portugal to become a UNESCO World Heritage Centre, followed by another incomparable wonder – the Landscape of the Pico Island Vineyard Culture, where the vines are surrounded by small lava stone walls, which give the island’s nectars a unique flavour.

The volcanic landscapes and the green fields of the Azores islands will, without doubt, welcome many more domestic tourists this year. Among all this beauty, the Azores also boasts two of the Seven Natural Wonders of Portugal: the Lagoon of the Seven Cities (São Miguel) and the Volcanic Landscape of Pico Island (Pico).

Another two Portuguese locations have been added to the UNESCO World Heritage list: the National Palace in Mafra and Bom Jesus do Monte in Braga. These join the Alto Douro Wine Region, the Historic Centre of Porto, the Jerónimos Monastery and Tower of Belém, the Convent of Christ (Tomar), Alcobaça Monastery, the Historic Centre of Évora, the Cultural Landscape of Sintra, the Prehistoric Rock Art Sites in the Côa Valley and Siega Verde, the Garrison Border Town of Elvas and its Fortifications, the Batalha Monastery, and the University of Coimbra.

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