Travel advisors learning at the 2023 Visit Portugal Travel Trade Marketplace (photo by Eric Bowman)
Porto, Portugal served as the home spot for the 2023 Visit Portugal Travel Trade Marketplace.
The event, held from Feb 11-17, was the first big industry in-person event for Portugal since the pandemic.
Over 120 buyers from Canada and the United States and over 60 sellers gathered at Hotel Pestana Douro Riverside and Pestana Palácio do Freixo to network and connect.
“The logistics are quite complicated in fact because we’re bringing 120 of the most important people that we treasure, which are our stakeholders – travel agents and tour operators from Canada and the United States,” Luis Araujo, President and CEO of Visit Portugal told TravelPulse.
“It’s an entire week of immersion in the country. It starts here in Porto with some workshops inside the classroom, but then we will have some trips all across the country in different groups to experience what Portugal has the diversity – how we’ve prepared ourselves for this post-COVID era, how we’re prepared to welcome many in the world and especially our Canadian and American friends in the best way.”
The event first began with destination learning classes, as travel agents and other buyers heard presentations from representatives in various regions of Portugal, including Lisbon, Porto & Northern Portugal, Center of Portugal, Alentejo, Algarve, Azores, and Madeira.
These would also serve as the locations for the post-event tours the buyers would get to experience later in the week.
Additionally, TAP Air Portugal was on hand to showcase all their routes and their plans for increasing frequencies from key routes in Canada and the United States. Plus, they detailed their newly enhanced TAP Stopover program too, which gives travelers more chances to experience Portugal even if primarily visiting other countries in Europe.
Araujo spoke to the buyers on Monday and Nuno Fazenda, Portugal’s Secretary of Tourism addressed all attendees on Tuesday night.
Both shared messages on Portugal’s tourism initiatives and how important it was for all of us to be there together.
“Tourism is recovering, and we are reaching new records in terms of revenues,” Fazenda said. “We are growing with a great increase in US markets.”
One-on-one meetings at the 2023 Visit Portugal Travel Trade Marketplace (photo by Eric Bowman)
The important one-on-one scheduled meetings took place during the second half of Monday and all day Tuesday.
“It was the perfect combination of hoteliers and DMC’s,” Tammy Levent, owner of Elite Travel said. “Sometimes at events, it weighs heavy on one or the other, [but] this was a perfect mix. I also like the fact that it was geared towards luxury, which is our main focus at Elite Travel. The event was very professional. I got not only to meet with my potential vendors, but I also networked with agents and other tour operators. As a matter of fact, I have already booked three trips with the new DMC I met.”
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