Mumbai: Tourismo de Portugal (TdP) conducted a successful trade roadshow in Mumbai and Delhi recently with a delegation of DMCs led by Filipe Silva, Member of the Board of Directors, TdP. “India holds tremendous potential for growth and aligns perfectly with our strategy of tapping diverse markets,” said Silva in an exclusive chat with Destination Reporter.

In 2017, 21 million tourists visited Portugal but less than 35,000 were from India. The revenue from India grew 25 per cent in 2017 for a total of nearly £15 million (£11.8 million in 2016), the number of bed nights grew 18.8 per cent to 91,866 (77,347 in 2016) and the number of Indian guests grew 11.9 per cent to 34,606 (30,923 in 2016).

Primary source markets in Europe, namely UK, Germany, France and Spain are contributing well to Portugal’s overall FTA numbers. TdP is focusing more on Americas (US, Canada, Brazil), Asia (India, China), East Asia (Japan, South Korea) and Australia to grow further.

“We are re-establishing our presence in this market after a gap of few years and have appointed Think Strawberries as our India representative,” informed Silva who is on his maiden visit to the sub-continent.

“Indian tourists are good spenders and they travel any time of the year. This is ideal for Portugal which wants to become a year-round destination. Currently, the length of stay (LoS) of Indian visitors is less than two days but Portugal has a lot more to offer – beaches, adventure, sports, culture, nature and wine, and sees the potential to double the LoS.” Of late, MICE originating from India is also checking out Portugal. With 4000 classified hotels and over 1,50,000 rooms, managing the expectations of large groups is not a problem at all. Recently, Cisco India has held a 4000 pax event in Portugal.

Portugal is a small country having roughly three per cent of India’s geographical area. So no two destinations are far away. In fact, one can reach easily even by self-drive. Most travellers visit Portugal as part of a circuit combining Spain and/or Morocco. Portugal believes it has the tourism offerings to become a standalone destination and this will help grow average LoS as well.

“Beyond Lisbon, we are now promoting new regions like Porto (World Heritage City known for the Port wine), Algarve (world-class beaches and golfing) and Madeira (island in the Atlantic, home to world’s largest laurel forest),” added Silva.

TdP is bullish about film tourism and wine tourism as well. It has just launched a cash rebate system (25 per cent of production cost) which makes it a very competitive destination for mounting productions. Portugal offers a complete wine tourism experience involving picking the grapes, making one’s own wine, labeling it with one’s name, residing at a vineyard, even indulging in a wine spa programme.

Though there are no direct flights connecting India and Portugal, GCC carriers, British Airways and Lufthansa connect Indian cities with Lisbon via their respective hubs. Air India connects direct to Madrid from where one can drive or fly to Lisbon.

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