In an interview with Lusa agency, the president of Turismo do Porto e Norte de Portugal, Luís Pedro Martins, anticipates that, for this year, the regional entity will maintain its commitment to the flows of the strategic markets of Porto and North such as "Spain, France, Germany and the United Kingdom", but will also focus on long-distance markets, such as "Israel, the United States (USA), Brazil and Canada".
"Today we are sure that we will have the Israeli airline Sun d'Or flying twice a week to Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport from March", declared Luís Pedro Martins, explaining that it was an "expectation for 2024", which was brought forward to this year.
In 2023, the president of TPNP also wants to focus on the growth of the markets in Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland and Switzerland.
Continuing to bet on the 'meeting industry' (business tourism), which the region has taken a "giant leap" recently, moving from 34th to 14th place, is another objective for 2023.
TPNP will also continue to focus on promoting "wine tourism", through the Port and Northern Wines route, on UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) heritage sites, as well as on the development of Paths of Santiago and the nature and landscape product.
In the ‘City Short Break’ product (short stays in the city), Luís Pedro Martins intends to extend it from Porto to other northern cities, such as Braga, Guimarães, Matosinhos or Vila Real.
The goal of expanding the 'City Short Break' product will contribute to "reinforcing territorial cohesion", he defended.
Luís Pedro Martins recalled that tourism in the North managed in “record time”, and after two years of the covid-19 pandemic, to reach “all the values of 2019”, a year that he considers “mythical” for tourism in the region and in Portugal, in general.
“[In 2022] we were close to six million guests, that is, we had a growth of 3.1% compared to the same period of 2019. With regard to overnight stays, we had almost 11 million overnight stays, with an increase of 6.7% compared to 2019”.
In terms of income, which has a direct impact on the economy and companies, Luís Pedro Martins said that the region recorded "700 million euros", which meant 20.4% more compared to the same period of 2019.
Tourism in the North region also managed to recover the proximity markets - Spain, France, Germany, United Kingdom -, but also the long-distance markets (USA, Canada or Brazil).
"We managed, in 2022, to meet the objective of surpassing 2019, the pre-pandemic year", a year in which 11 million overnight stays and six million euros in income were recorded, he concluded.