Algarve must evolve ‘beach holiday’ brand: Portugal tourism chiefs
Algarve tourism chiefs say the region must diversify and build on its renowned ‘beach holiday’ brand in order to benefit from the rapidly evolving global tourism market.
Joao Fernandes, Algarve Region Tourism Board (RTA) President and Algarve Tourism Association (ATA) boss, said Algarve tourism unquestionably remains very strong. However, it can drive greater recognition and wealth creation by improving and diversifying its offer.
The news comes ahead of the 2019 Algarve Tourism Conference running from 9am-5pm at the Hilton Vilamoura Resort on Friday September 27.
This year’s central theme is ‘health and wellness’ travel. Worldwide ‘wellness tourism’ spend is rising rapidly and expected to surpass €900 billion by 2022, representing 18pc of the global tourism market.
“For more than 40 years the Algarve has been the leading tourism destination in Portugal attracting the greatest number of tourists per night. The region accounts for more than 4million of nearly 19million guest nights registered annually. However, we are currently engaged in a long and continuous process of diversification, demystifying the preconception that the Algarve is only sun and beach – and consequently only a summer destination. None of these assumptions are true. Although it is true that our star product is, and will always remain, the sun and beach. However, what people have come to discover is that there is much more than beautiful beaches,” Fernandes said.
“We are working to drive greater appreciation of our authenticity and our genuineness. Elements such as the Mediterranean diet, or regional cultural production, levered by Algarve 365 program, have been authentic flags in our promotion. I have always submitted that the Algarve tourism sector would be as strong as our ability to plan and anticipate problems, as well as to speak in a focused manner. The formula proposed for this conference seems to me to be correct, as a way of strengthening the sector and training its agents. Judging by the mobilisation achieved from the previous edition, and response post event, the conference is well positioned to contribute towards and help inform the regional agenda.”
The event is being delivered by ILM Real Estate Group in association with the Ireland Portugal Business Network (IPBN) and Faro’s Dengun Digital Agency. High-profile participants include GSI Health & Wellness Exchange, Revive Clinic Algarve, Grupo HPA Saude, Longevity, Vale do Lobo, ASPA and Pine Cliffs Resort/UIP.
The full-day programme involves more than 25 expert speakers with a key focus on growth and strategies for sustainable development within health, medical, wellness and senior tourism.
“The Algarve is on the cusp of a transformation linked to the fast expanding ‘health and wellness’ tourism industry. Europe is currently topping the polls as the most popular destination for health and wellness travel, which is terrific news for the Algarve. Our region is in prime position and already benefits from a bounty of natural assets with strong supply chains and potential support services in areas including technology, sustainability and innovation. It has all the ingredients to become a ‘Mecca’ for health and wellness travellers worldwide. However, the onus is now on the local market to work together and harness the opportunity by creating a robust plan for the years to come,” said Andrew Coutts CEO of the ILM Tourism & Hospitality Real Estate Group Portugal.
Peter Robinson Partner at property sector research consultancy Promatura International said: “There are major opportunities for the Algarve right across the senior living segment which can be broken down into several areas. This includes ‘active adult’, ‘independent living’, ‘assisted living’, ‘memory care’ and ‘nursing care’. It is important for businesses within the Algarve region to clearly understand which segment they are either in or want to be in. ProMatura will feature on this year’s senior living panel offering guidance and insights from around the world, where we have helped deliver projects in multiple countries. We will discuss how much age/life stage appropriate property stock the Algarve already has, or could be adapted, for the proven needs of an aging population across Europe. We will also explore how land-owners, developers, financiers or operators go about determining or proving a robust business model to enter the senior living sector with a new project.”
“The Algarve has been positioning itself in a structured and systematic way within the health and wellness tourism sector due to its natural advantages – including an exceptional climate with more than 300 days of sunshine per year, a rich and diverse culture, fine coastal beaches and fantastic golf courses combined with two equally important factors: safety and hospitality. The region can further boost its wellness offer with greater investment in year-round flight connections, cultural events, road infrastructure and by fostering a collective promotional effort in the main source markets for wellness tourism such as UK, Benelux, Germany, Middle East and Russian speaking countries,” said Nazir Sacoor CEO at Longevity Wellness Worldwide.
Stakeholders from across Portugal’s tourism sector are being encouraged to attend, most notably tourism and travel entrepreneurs and innovators, travel trade and destination management company (DMC) professionals, resort, hotel and tourism development lodging managers and operators, real estate developers and investors, real estate managers and realtors.
A series of packages are being offered to delegates including conference hall exhibition space, sponsorship and partnership opportunities. Tickets are on sale now. For more information on the conference visit www.algarveconference.com