UK driving tourism growth in Portugal
UK visitors were the driving force behind the healthy growth in international visitor numbers enjoyed by Portugal last year, according to new statistics.
The official data from Turismo de Portugal for 2013 suggests that seven million overnight stays were attributable to Brits last year, which was up 8.6 per cent on 2012.
Across the country’s tourism sector as a whole, visitor numbers were up with a total of 1.4 million guests from the UK, up 7.4 per cent on 2012, generating 1.5 billion euros for the Portuguese economy.
As a result of these figures, it is not surprising that the UK currently holds the position of Portugal’s most important market for main inbound visitors.
Felipe Silva, UK director of Turismo de Portugal, said that all signs point to 2013 being an equally successful year for the country. This is something that can best be seen in the fact that so many airlines are increasing capacity on routes connecting the UK to all four of Portugal’s major airports, with demand for flights refusing to abate.
He explained: “We believe this is due to the diverse product we have on offer, from cities, beaches, golf, nature and culture, to world-renowned gastronomy and wine.
“Throughout this year, we will continue to work closely with tour operators and travel agents within the industry to promote the country’s latest developments and products, and hopefully in turn, attract more visitors.”
The cities of Lisbon and Porto are arguably the most popular sites for tourists in mainland Portugal, but it is the island of Madeira, to the north of the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean, that remains perhaps its biggest draw.
Here, visitors from the UK flock in their droves for nearly perfect conditions all year around. As well as sun, sea and sand, Madeira has also become particularly popular with wildlife lovers in recent years, thanks to the excellent opportunities it offers at various points in the year for whale watching.