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June 2, 2015

Portugal: Algarve Invests in Congresses and Incentives

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For decades, it has been the main tourist destination in Portugal. And it has much more to offer than sun and beach. More than 150 Km of coastline washed by the Atlantic waters, mountains, nature, a blessed climate, golf and an international racetrack, rich gastronomy, resorts and four- and five-star hotels, history, culture, and tolerance of those who are accustomed to live with people from elsewhere.

We sat down with Dora Coelho, Algarve Tourism Association (ATA) Executive Director, who spoke to us about the importance of the MI sector for the region, which continues to be seen as a leisure destination, although equipped with infrastructure and professionals specialised in events and incentives. Overcoming this first hurdle is a challenge. "People still do not know the other Algarve, its rural part, its interior, Barrocal, Costa Vicentina, Ria Formosa, Castro Marim... The diversity of what we have to offer for incentives, prices, value for money, compared to other European destinations, helps the Algarve to really begin to be recognized and increasingly sought for this type of action," assures ATA's Executive Director. The effort to make Algarve well-known is being renewed, says Dora Coelho, without neglecting the most typical, with the sun and beach.

The conference segment is important to combat seasonality and there is still much work ahead. "Regarding conferences, we unfortunately do not have the rooms and venues that Lisbon has. We can not compete at that level, but we are having this conversation in a space that has stupendous facilities (Salgados Congress Centre) to host large events, which deserves to be known and disseminated. I believe that in the future we will get there, with a lot of hard work we'll get there," Dora Coelho ensures.

Among those who have already discovered the Algarve are car brands, which are increasingly choosing this destination for the presentation of new models and activities with the sales teams. One of the biggest events held last year in the region was the Euro Training Mercedes, which brought together 15,000 participants over a period of three months.

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