Tiago Brito, Tourism Director of the Turismo de Portugal: Focus on Safe Restart of Tourism Industry to Revive Confidence

Publish Time:2021-01-18 14:47:27Source:WTCF

【Introduction】:Recently, Tiago Brito, Tourism Director of the Turismo de Portugal, accepted the interview with WTCF. He introduced the measures taken by Portugal to promote the safe restart of tourism and the promotion of tourist destinations, introduced unique culture and tourism resources of Lisbon, WTCF s member city, and expressed confidence that the tourism industry will return to prosperity in the future.

The outbreak of COVID-19 has changed tourists' focus on traveling, and the demand for travel safety-related services has increased significantly. In this context, Portugal has successively launched the "clean and safe" seal, passenger locator cards and Portuguese Health Passport to ensure the safety of tourists and it has become the first country in Europe to obtain safe travel seal.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, WTCF has concerned about the recovery and development of the tourism industry in member cities, and actively carried out exchanges and experience sharing, hoping to provide practical assistance to member cities such as Lisbon, the capital of Portugal.

Recently, Tiago Brito, Tourism Director of the Turismo de Portugal, accepted the interview with WTCF. He introduced the measures taken by Portugal to promote the safe restart of tourism and the promotion of tourist destinations, introduced unique culture and tourism resources of Lisbon, WTCF's member city, and expressed confidence that the tourism industry will return to prosperity in the future.

Tiago Brito, Tourism Director of the Turismo de Portugal

WTCF: As you know, this year is very special. The world is affected by the pandemic. So, what are the measures taken by Portugal and the city of Lisbon to combat the pandemic and reduce the losses of tourism industry?

Tiago Brito: We have to admit that this is, for tourism industry, the worst crisis of the century. Almost every tourism stakeholder was deeply affected by the pandemic. In response to the negative impact of the pandemic on the tourism industry, Portuguese National Tourism Authority, together with Portuguese public institutions have developed a series of many measures to try to contain the pandemic and try to help local stakeholders of the tourism industry.

The first one was the "clean and safe" seal created by Portuguese national authority. According to Portuguese reality, more than 22000 companies adopted this seal and followed these measurements to ensure the safety of tourists. Because of these efforts that the Portuguese national authority has undertaken, the World Travel & Tourism Council has also recognized these efforts, and Portugal was the first European country to receive the safe travel seal.

In addition, Portuguese national authority also implemented passenger locator cards. Since the arrival of passengers, the airline would provide a document to all the visitors who visit Portugal for them to fill it out, so that Portuguese authorities could follow all the visitors through this passenger locator card.

Another very important measure was the Portuguese Health Passport. This is a health passport that could be acquired in advance by tourists who visit Portugal. The tourists would be able to have access to several medical facilities in Portugal, to do COVID-19 tests to prove that they're negative, and to do other kinds of auxiliary diagnosis or treatment. So for the visitors to Portugal, it's not only an extra assurance, but also a good measure to create some extra confidence for travelers.

And another one is more focused on the Portuguese archipelagos Azores and Madeira. Any visitor who would travel to Portugal to these two archipelagos in the Atlantic Ocean needs to provide in advance the proof of negative COVID-19 test also to assure the overall safety to everyone who would visit us. What's more, Lisbon has also created the hotline for tourists to increase the trust of them to Lisbon city specifically. Tourists can contact the destination in advance, and can access a lot of information in real time, at any time, through this hotline.

WTCF: Lisbon is a city member of WTCF, what do you think are the places for visiting or culture features or unique customs in this city you would recommend?

Tiago Brito: There are three places in the metropolitan area of Lisbon has been listed as World Heritage of UNESCO. Belém Area is one of the most visited, Sintra is a very romantic place, and also Mafra, which is a bit north of Lisbon. There are also other intangible heritages in Lisbon, like Fado, also one of Lisbon's most famous cultural interests for tourists and Portuguese as well. People can learn about this city through the most Portuguese traditional folk song called "Fado Fado".

For Chinese tourists, the most famous one is the Portuguese egg tarts. Almost every tourist who goes to Lisbon will probably go to Belém to try these world-famous egg tarts. Lisbon also gathers a variety of architectural styles. It's with great diversity although it's not a big city.

In the southern part of Lisbon, there is a place called Setubal which has also very wonderful beaches with interesting coast lines with warmer waters, and it's a favorite place for Portuguese and for tourists. Whether you're visiting in family or with a big group, or if you are choosing Lisbon for business, you won't be bored. And you'll miss here if you leave one day.

WTCF: It is a pity that people can't travel abroad because of the pandemic. Many countries have been actually severely affected by the pandemic, so what are your suggestions on how to overcome the pandemic?

Tiago Brito: We need to take it step by step. We have different inbound markets. So speaking specifically of China, we're responsible for China's mainland, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. Since the end of January, 2020, Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism prevented the selling of tour packages to Europe, including Portugal. Since then, we also understood that the pandemic would be long and travel restrictions would be long.

So we have to shift all our before strategies to adopt a new paradigm, undertake different activities to increase understanding between two countries. We hosted online roadshow with almost 70 Chinese travel agents from all over China, and also promoted an e-learning platform called "Travel Specialists" to get people to see that there is a lot to be seen in Portugal. Furthermore, we also launched the series of livestreamings with the Sina Weibo, also with several of other regions, and did webinars about our country and specific tourism segments, to keep people confident and interested in Portugal. We hope people will not forget Portugal.

WTCF: What do you hope an international organization like the WTCF do for the world or countries at this critical moment?

Tiago Brito: WTCF is very important for many reasons. First, it's an international federation of cities, and we're altogether – everyone is connected. WTCF can aggregate in your entity, and provide a lot of insightful information, about what's going on in different parts around the world to keep them confident, interested, and motivated.

The most important is that people need travel, they don't lose these interests. Tourism keeps us all very close, we understand each other better, and we understand ourselves better by traveling. When the time comes, we're very confident that when people feel 100% safe, the tourism levels will increase enormously, and we can get even higher than 2019 levels.

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