New Delhi: Visit Portugal opened its first office in India at Delhi in mid-January. Claudia Matias has been appointed Director – India, Portuguese National Tourist Office. A 13-member travel trade delegation led by Filipe Silva, Board Member, Tourismo De Portugal and Matias, visited Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Bengaluru recently.

Portugal as a tourist destination was especially made famous in India in 2017 when the Imtiaz Ali directed Shah Rukh Khan starrer Jab Harry Met Sejal got released. The film featured the cities of Lisbon, Cintra and Cascais. “India is emerging as an important market for us,” confirmed Silva. When the official data gets published, in 2019, we would have closed at 70,000 Indian travelers and 1,50,000 overnights. Our challenge has always been to increase the length of stay.” Portugal has a tremendous diversity of tourism offerings – 15 UNESCO® World Heritage Sites; fantastic gastronomy; beautiful cities; fabulous beaches. “Easily one can do 6-9 nights. We are working with agents to popularize packages,” added Matias.

Majority of the traffic is leisure though MICE movements are growing well from India. Though Lisbon is the most sought after city for leisure and business, many cities have excellent MICE infrastructure. “We hosted four weddings in 2019, which for a destination like Portugal is big,” informed Silva. “DMCs in Portugal are learning fast and becoming more specialised in managing Indian weddings,” according to Matias.

A cash rebate system has been established making filming in Portugal attractive. Multiple conversations with production houses in India are ongoing with many production teams having already visited Portugal for a recce. Portugal has been addressing compression during high season for some time now with reasonable success. “We have been very successful in spreading the season by developing diverse products, promoting right and bringing different types of profiles of travellers from markets around the world,” concurred Silva.

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