Porto & North of Portugal: Time to Wake up Again!

12th Oct, 2021

Local tech and tourism partnerships have been established in Porto, which has united the sector and contributed to the international perception of Northern Portugal. After a year to forget, Porto is on the lookout for the meetings industry and the whole tourism ecosystem.

Like so many other destinations in Europe, 2020 was no different for Turismo do Porto e Norte de Portugal (TPNP) with the events industry suffering immensely. But since every cloud has a silver lining, many Porto companies took advantage of this break to shift into digitalisation by implementing new tech tools on their daily operations inside-out. “In terms of our own MICE projects, we’ve been working on some great and powerful content that we plan to launch very soon. We want to be in the minds of MICE organisers, create added value and desire for our destination,” told us the president of the Portuguese regional tourism entity, Luís Pedro Martins (pictured below).

Last year gave TPNP enough time to plan and prepare the next stage for major events: the UEFA Champions League final and the Social Summit are just a few examples of this rising dynamic. “Time is now, and these opportunities have shown us that is possible to host large- scale events in a safe and organised way, with no negative repercussions.” According to the president, “Europe needs to unite, and the EU Digital COVID certificate is bringing hope to all destinations”, as different travel rules by country have increased uncertainty and lack of confidence to business meeting travellers. On that note, Portugal became the first European country to receive the safe travel certificate. Their national and international meetings fund is now being revised, and will play an important role in attracting new and old business to the region in a exible way. This year’s launch of the new M&I support programme, and projects such as Eventhology and Meethology aim to position TPNP within the meetings industry most competitive secondary city destinations in Europe, in terms of innovation, digitalisation and sustainable practices of the local circular economy. “Our main goal is also to give a digital voice and look to the destination, and reaching our followers with educational and interesting content through the voices of our community players,” says Luís Pedro Martins.

Entities such as Porto Digital and many other local scientific and entrepreneurial hubs, contribute daily to the innovation movement throughout the region. Many venues, hotels, DMCs and PCOs are now much more tech conscious and have adapted to this new reality, insearch of new solutions for their clients. “Connecting this footprint to the local tourism and meetings industry was a natural process, especially after the pandemic, through new digital solutions and partnerships.” How so? “Venues and hotels have now implemented permanent studios and digital tours, audiovisual companies are acting as crucial experts for hybrid and digital meetings, and even restaurants and touristic spots are also applying online and mobile focused solutions for their customers.”

Furthermore, Visit Portugal has created Tourism + Sustainability Strategy 2023, in order to consolidate tourism as a hub for economic, social and environmental development, positioning Portugal as one of the most sustainable tourist destinations in the world. Other pioneering regional projects, such as the Porto Protocol, are key outcomes of the Climate Change Leadership Porto − a commitment by all participants to adopt and promote the principles and measures established at the climate summits. “These achievements urge entities to adopt sustainable best practices in a transversal way. Leaving an environmental and social legacy in each meeting has become mandatory,” concludes Martins. 

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