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August 29, 2018
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Portugal: How Important Are Events in Promoting a Destination?


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Hosting major international events is of enormous importance for the Portugal destination, so much that it has become a pillar of our tourism strategy. First of all, because it gives us great visibility in incoming markets, allowing us to showcase the best we have and consequently to attract more tourists and continue our sustainable growth. Then, because tourism has a well defined national strategy - Tourism Strategy 2027 -, in which organising business, motivational or leisure events is considered one of the strategic assets of our destination, with the ability to project our country's image image, increase its renown in international markets and generate new searches and attractions throughout both the year and the country. Thus, given the growing strategic importance of this segment, Turismo de Portugal understood that it was indispensable to create a specialised and exclusive team for the Meetings & Incentives (MI) area. Its main goal is precisely to support national operators - Convention Bureaux and private entities - increasing the perception of Portugal as an event destination and also the visibility of national companies linked to this segment. This continuous articulation between public and private agents allows a greater flow of information, greater efficiency in the use of resources and a greater commitment among the various agents in the sector to improve their performance through the sharing of knowledge.

In addition, a platform has been developed that aggregates all pertinent information about events in Portugal - www.meetingsinportugal.com -, from destination data and information on the most relevant events taking place in Portugal to a directory of service providers in this segment. This platform thus makes it possible to request offers and budgets for specific projects, becoming a working tool with effective achievement potential.

Attracting and holding congresses and events is also encouraged through a financial instrument, especially aimed at companies in the sector: the Fund for Attracting Corporate Events and International Congresses considers, as validation criteria, the number of bednights that each event plans to generate, depending on the expected number of participants. There are currently more than 300 companies benefiting from this incentive.

In this regard, it is also important to highlight the fact that Turismo de Portugal has developed a support line to encourage the holding of events and congresses in the municipalities most affected by the 2017 fires. In this case, the program allows framing events involving 15 to 299 nights, with the intensity of the financial support being based on a basic criterion of €22/night, with a bonus corresponding to a further 25% of the base value of the support to be granted for events occurring during the IATA winter period.

The return and multiplier effect of the implemented strategy and the large international events organised in Portugal will certainly go well beyond the numbers we have.

In 2017, 61 international events and congresses were organised throughout the country, with around 97 events planned for 2018 - 11 of which were held in areas affected by last year's fires (given the volume of applications submitted, we are confident that the effective number will be higher).

In addition, throughout the year, Portugal has received numerous awards and international mentions including distinctions for Lisboa, Porto, Algarve, Madeira and the Azores. Virtually all of our regions have something distinctive that stood out and deserved international recognition. The peak of notoriety translated into the election of Portugal as the "World's Leading Destination," a title granted to a European country for the first time.

In the specific scope of the MI product, the 2017 Associação Internacional de Congressos e Incentivos (International Association of Congresses and Incentives)'s report stands out, in which the rankings of the countries that most receive and organise congresses and conventions still feature Portugal in the 7th position at the European level and the 11th position in the world.

In the classification of cities, it should be mentioned that Lisbon, Porto and Cascais are present in this ranking with honorable positions namely the capital that stands out in the European and world top ten.

It is clear that Portugal is very attractive in this area and the most interesting is that it is does not happen with only a particular city or region. It happens all over the country.

These results make us very proud because they meet the Turismo de Portugal's objectives and the efforts made to attract events throughout the country, thus promoting the decentralisation of tourist demand. A decentralisation that is both geographic and seasonal, to distribute the benefits of tourism throughout the territory and throughout the year.

LUÍS ARAÚJO
TURISMO DE PORTUGAL PRESIDENT


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