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Tourism propels the Portuguese economy

by Sandro Rego*

Portugal is trending all over the world – there is nothing new in this. The country has assumed global leadership when it comes to a tourist destination. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) report, tourism grew 8.1% in 2018, achieving the highest rate among European Union (EU) countries, one of the highest among all European countries. Last year, it brought a direct contribution to the economy of 38.4 billion euros. In short, out of every 5 euros of revenue generated in Portugal in 2018, 1 euro comes from tourism.

The pace remains strong in 2019. WTTC’s foresees that this year, the industry will grow 5.3%, more than double the European average. Also, the WTTC report predicts that the total tourism contribution will reach 51.2 billion euros by 2029.

Moreover, tourism also strengthens the country’s role in international organizations: it has been re-elected for a third term as chair of the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) Tourism Committee, which brings together Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Switzerland, and also the European Union. Portugal also holds the presidency of the Executive Council of the WTO (World Tourism Organization). For the Secretary of State for Tourism, these appointments reinforce one of the goals of the “Tourism Strategy 2027”, which foresees, beyond the projection of destiny, consolidating Portugal in “world organizations and international cooperation.”

But how did Portugal become a world tourism destination? Several factors contributed to this, such as climate, history, cuisine (and wine), business, mountains, beaches, and communication strategy. There have been numerous initiatives and campaigns to promote the country’s image as the best tourist destination around the world and attract more and more people to explore Portugal from North to South.

One of the initiatives was the “Building Wave” campaign. For 15 days, it put Times Square in New York to “digitally surf” the waves of Nazaré, the largest in the world. Developed by Partners, the campaign was ranked 3rd in the New York Festivals Advertising Awards in the “Branded Content /Entertainment” contest in the “Outdoor” category. In the initiative, the wave of more than 24 meters surfed by Brazilian Rodrigo Koxa was shown on the LED screens of a building that had the same size, in the New York square.

“Portugal. The Summer” was the title of another international campaign of Turismo de Portugal that deserved prominence. The initiative was recognized as one of the best in Europe in the 4th edition of the OMT Tourism Video Competition. It has positioned the country as the best summer destination, through five films that awaken the senses and show a destination rich in experiences and sensations.

For the campaign, a contest was opened that challenged musicians from around the world to create a soundtrack that showed the warmth of the Portuguese, the national rhythms, a summer that feels all year long, and explores the five senses that are also five reasons for visiting Portugal. The winners of the challenge won a trip to Portugal and participated in this year’s NOS Alive festival. The videos, available on the official website, were filmed in various parts of the country. According to information from Portuguese Tourism, the global campaign reached over 20 million people, focusing on the markets of the United Kingdom, Spain, France, Germany, and the USA. The investment was over 100,000 euros.

For 2020 and 2021, the focus will be on initiatives in the digital environment, with a set budget of over 10 million euros for advertising and digital campaigns. Omnicom Media Group is responsible for managing the digital account of Turismo de Portugal.

In addition to contributing to the promotion of Portugal’s image and brand abroad, the communication efforts have also been an important ally for the recognition of the country in industry awards. In 2019 alone, Portugal received 39 awards (three more than in 2018) at the World Travel Awards. In addition to the “Best European Destination” award, other prizes were awarded to Lisbon (“Best Destination” of “City Break” and “Best Cruise Port”), Madeira Island (“Best Island Destination”), Passadiços de Paiva (“Best Tourism Development Project”), and the Dark Sky Alqueva (“European Responsible Tourism Award”). This year, Portugal also received the unprecedented “Best Accessible Tourist Destination in the World” award from the World Tourism Organization (WTO), which recognizes efforts to promote accessibility for people with disabilities.

Portugal definitely deserves and needs to be visited. The economy and the media agencies thank you.

To watch the campaigns I mentioned in the article, check the links below:

Portugal. The Summer

Building Wave: https://www.facebook.com/Visitportugal/videos/10156650239016661/?t=28

To learn about the awards won by Turismo de Portugal visit http://www.turismodeportugal.pt/en/quem_somos/Organizacao/Premios_Distincoes/Paginas/default.aspx

Sandro Rego is CEO of Priori, a communications agency in Portugal dedicated to social impact causes and projects. He was general manager of FleishmanHillard agency and communications executive at Banco Safra, Boticário Group, Bunge and Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional (CSN). He was “Communicator of the Year” at the Aberje 2014 Award. He currently lives in Portugal and is the editor of BRpr’s “Also in Portuguese” section.