City wants tourism that values sustainability and singularity

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The Mayor of Porto opened, this Tuesday, the international forum “Turismo – A principal indústria mundial” at Alfândega do Porto. Assuming the “great recovery of tourism in Porto” as a starting point for communication, Rui Moreira presented the municipality’s strategy for sustainability and valorisation of the city’s singularity.

Faced with the new challenges that the recovery of tourism brings, the Mayor recalled the “Visão de Futuro para a Sustentabilidade do Destino Porto”, presented in September, which intends to make “Porto become one of the most competitive and sustainable destinations in the world”, reinforces Rui Moreira.

With the “ambition to diversify to grow”, the focus is on determining “the profile of those who visit us, their native countries and the reasons for choosing Porto”. The strategy is focused on attracting younger generations, as well as tourist with more buying power, the mayor assures, “we do not want to compete on the price but, on the quality and prestige of the Porto destination”.

The bet on new markets, on increasing the average period of stay in the city, and the challenge for tourists explore “less obvious areas and activities” is also part of the vision that the municipality has for tourism in the city, set on “the principle of diversification” and in the certainty that “we can afford to choose the tourism we want and what we do not want”.

“With a more sustainable tourism, we are going to make the offer more attractive and thus consolidate the demand for the Porto destination, without jeopardizing the quality of life of our residents”, believes Rui Moreira.

At the forum organized by Alfândega do Porto, in partnership with Jornal de Notícias, the mayor took a tour of the evolution of tourism in the city, from the first time it was distinguished as “Europe’s Leading Destination”, in 2021, until the resumption achieved after two years of the pandemic.

“We have to admit”, said Rui Moreira, “we missed the tourists and the dynamics they generate in the city”. Dynamics such as Porto’s transformation “in urban refurbishment, economic dynamism, cosmopolitan experience and international affirmation”, recently confirmed with the distinction as “World’s Leading City destination”, by the World Travel Awards.

It is right to say that “Porto is a special city, with a well-defined identity and a very unique livingness”, the mayor believes that “the city’s touristic sector shows the potential to grow even further and become an even more profitable activity”.

“Our city is, undoubtedly, on the world tourism route”, as the perspectives for 2022 also show, “another record years of tourists in Porto”.

For Rui Moreira, it would be unfair not to look at tourism as a major driver of the city, over the years and in several areas: in the local economy, in employment, in recovering damaged buildings. “We are not afraid of gentrification”, he reinforces.

The response to the new challenges brought about by the growth of the sector will also include housing, mobility, environment, waste and public cleaning services policies, the person of the Local accommodation Mediator, by the suspension of authorization for new local accommodation establishments and the future regulation of the sector.

“Let it be very clear, we want a Porto with tourists. The picture of Porto without tourists is very present among us, and we do not want that to happen again. But this does not mean the defence of mass tourism. Today the opportunity to promote tourism with greater added value and more sustainable from an economic, social, environmental, and cultural point of view”, reinforced Rui Moreira.

Confiança Porto e Observatório do Turismo boost international awards

At another moment, the conference at Alfândega promoted a round table on “Congressos e Turismo”, which sat the councillor for Tourism and Internationalization alongside the vice president of the Comissão de Coordenação e Desenvolvimento Regional do Norte, Beraldino Pinto, Hermano Rodrigues, chief at EY-Parthenon, and the president of the non-profit cultural association Experimenta, Guta Moura Guedes.

With “more than 40 congresses planned in the region until the end of the year”, Catarina Santos Cunha believes that this sector has served to fill in the seasonality of more traditional tourism.

Asked about the work to be done after Porto won what are considered the Oscars of Tourism, the councillor said that the award is promoted “with a lot of responsibility”, now that “the attention will be focused on us”.

“We have to work on the sustainability of the destination, pull out other narratives”, said Catarina Santos Cunha, leaving the message that “our responsibility is to attract more people to know Porto”, both the “identity of the Burroughs”, as “a more cosmopolitan city”.

Catarina Santos Cunha took the opportunity to inform that the Confiança Porto programme, which certifies the excellence of local accommodation in the city, will be “extended to other areas”, and that is already underway the Observatório do Turismo, to be launched next year. “We want to understand the flows, how people move, where they come from, what they consume” to adapt the touristic offer.