Portugal should seek more tourists from Ireland, China – report

18 September 2006

Lisbon, Portugal, 18 Sept – A study of foreign tourism to Portugal carried out by Espirito Santo Research recommends there should be a special focus on the Irish market and the offer of more religious tourism, as well as more attention being given to attracting Chinese visitors.

“Tourism in Portugal: Future Visions”, a study coordinated by Miguel Frasquilho, says that although Irish visitors only comprise 2.5 percent of total visits to Portugal, they spend on average six nights in the country.

This is one of “the highest levels of all tourists to Portugal, suggesting it is one of the markets that Portugal must bet on in the future”, the report says.

The Irish market showed the biggest increase in annual nights spent in Portugal between 1996 and 2005.

Promotion of Portuguese tourism in Ireland could focus on developing religious holiday themes, bringing visitors to Lisbon, Fatima, Braga and Vila Viçosa in the Alentejo region, says the report.

As to the Chinese market, whose tourists are ranked 10th worldwide in terms of average expenditure, Portugal “has a good chance, exploiting the historic connection”, as well as the fact Chinese citizens get automatic authorization to visit Portugal.

International tourism bodies estimate that China will be among the most important sources of tourism in the near future.

The Portuguese government, through the state secretary of tourism, is currently developing joint promotion activities with its Spanish equivalent to attract visitors from distant markets such as China and India. (macauhub)