"We will continue to work on new markets and structure the offer with new tourism products," said Rita Marques, present at the beginning of the 40th edition of FITUR which was inaugurated this morning by the Queen of Spain, Leticia Ortiz and where 161 Portuguese companies are present.
She stressed the importance of Portuguese companies being at one of the world's largest trade fairs that allows the meeting between those seeking and those offering tourist services, although "90% of the public budget" to promote the sector is applied to "digital": "That's where we want to reach everyone", she added.
Portugal ended 2019 with a "record revenue" of more than €18 billion in the tourism sector, which is growing at an annual rate of around 7%.
"We are no longer growing in double figures, it was impossible to continue, but we are having sustainable growth and far above that of the EU".
Rita Marques also welcomed the recognition by the World Tourism Organisation (WTO) of the Azores' Tourism Observatory and the Algarve's Regional Observatory for Sustainable Tourism, which are now part of the International Network of Observatories (INSTO).
For Portugal, the Spanish market "represents the main issuing market" and is "the third in terms of overnight stays".
Also present at the inauguration of FITUR 2020, the president of Turismo de Portugal, Luís Araújo, stressed that the "issuing markets" for tourists continue to grow throughout the world, especially in Asia.
"They are permanently looking for what we call 'experiences' and we have to know how to transmit what kind of 'experiences' Portugal can give," Luís Araújo said.
According to Turismo de Portugal, tourism is the country's largest economic export activity, responsible for 51.5% of services exports and 18.6% of total exports in 2018.
According to the organizers of the fair, FITUR 2020 is expected to have an economic impact in Madrid similar to the previous edition, which was €325 million, mainly in the hotel, restaurant and transport sectors.