Tourism diversification tells eight stories from a book of experiences called Porto

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There are eight places, eight stories, eight experiences, among the countless ways to experience Porto. Focusing on the tourism sustainability strategies, the municipality has mapped out the path to creating eight blocks that will help outsiders get to know the culture and attractions, but also the people and the many lives that make up the city's identity.

Understanding the city as a whole, the mission is to decentralise tourist flows in order to relieve pressure on the areas of greatest demand and create new opportunities.

Or, as the Councillor for Tourism, Catarina Santos Cunha, said at the presentation of the strategy this Friday morning at Reservatório da Pasteleira, 'to put a magnifying glass on the different cities within the city, the identity of each neighbourhood, the quality and differentiation of its offer, its competitiveness and attractiveness factors, the narratives that unfold in each block'.

Eight blocks tell eight stories and then some

The eight narratives to be created will serve to convey eight places of attraction:

  • Historic Centre of Porto, but also of Vila Nova de Gaia, the place of history, the past and the preservation of a unique character;
  • Baixa (downtown), with its strong and distinct identity, a combination of a diverse gastronomic offer and a youthful aura of fun and nightlife;
  • Foz (estuary), with a connection to Matosinhos Sul, where the river unites with the sea;
  • Boavista, Campo Alegre and Marginal (riverside) neighbourhoods, rich in architecture, music and art, home to international companies;
  • Bonfim, image of irreverent and young Porto, which attracts creative and disruptive minds;
  • Lapa, República and Marquês, which housed the liberal defence lines and crosses historical and religious monuments in a cultural symbiosis;
  • Asprela, Arca d'Água, Carvalhido and Ramalde area, a place of research, science and knowledge;
  • Campanhã and Antas, where rural and urban intersect, with new dynamics and constant renewal.

Porto for all, open, inclusive and forward-looking

In the words of the Councillor for Tourism, 'this strategy crosses the city, enveloping and interconnecting the entire territory, but also going beyond it, seeing cohesion and territorial cooperation as a way of strengthening the international positioning of the entire region and the country'.

Porto will continue to position itself as a benchmark destination at European and world level. A destination that renovates itself and evolves.'

Moreover, Catarina Santos Cunha adds, it is cross-cutting to other sectors, from the economy to culture, from the environment to urban planning, and encompasses various public and private stakeholders who are in some way involved in tourism promotion.


The Councillor takes on the mission of 'diversifying, decentralising and expanding. In a continuous cycle that guarantees the future and sustainability. Because Porto is and always will be a city for everyone, an open, inclusive and forward-looking city', she emphasises, with one certainty: that Porto 'will continue to position itself as a benchmark destination at European and world level. A destination that renovates itself and evolves'.

A policy of competence and rigour for a lot of Porto to offer

The municipal strategy was discussed at a round table, where Hélder Pacheco praised the work being done, saying that 'a city with a tourism boom must have a policy of competence and rigour'.

Porto has a future, but that future will depend on what we can do today.'

'This plan begins to address the issue of having not too much tourism, but too little Porto, the places where tourists don't usually go, and that Porto is represented here', the historian believes. In defence of tourism, Hélder Pacheco believes that 'Porto has a future, but that future will depend on what we are able to do today'.

For his part, Carlos Brito emphasises the economic, social and environmental balance between the city's four targets: visitors, inhabitants, workers and investors. Specialised in marketing, the professor from the School of Economics of the University of Porto gave recommendations on how to show tourists the benefits to be drawn from the city, whether functional, emotional or social, beyond the attractions, as well as the need to invest in events that have to do with the city's culture.


Porto's inhabitants as anchors of attraction

In the same alignment, cultural curator Simão Bolivar advocates focusing on promoting experiences, cultural associations and the specific dynamics that already exist in Porto's neighbourhoods.

'Authenticity can be contemporary', he states, adding that 'you often don't need monuments, you need people', who, if valued, can become 'anchors of attraction'. Simão Bolivar emphasises that 'keeping tourists, so that they stay longer, has more to do with how good they feel rather than with what they see'.

The city is as invisible as what people know.'

Besides praising the municipality's attitude in 'writing a document that will go down in history' and to which 'society can relate', Paula Teles believes that the city 'is as invisible as what people know'.

Specialised in urban mobility, she sees the strategy as promoting 'walkability'. She believes the focus should be on decarbonisation, with journeys made on foot or in more environment-friendly vehicles, humanisation, betting on places where people live, and inclusion, eliminating barriers, so that 'everyone has the right to the city'.