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Tourism is enjoying extraordinary phase, says Secretary of State

extraordinary phasePortugal’s tourism sector is on a roll and the government is committed to keeping this positive trend going as long as possible.

So said Secretary of State for Tourism Rita Marques in Faro last Thursday (February 6) at the APECATE congress event, which saw key speakers discussing everything from tourism to digitalisation, globalisation, sustainability and automation.

“It is a pleasure to be in Faro reflecting on tourism and the future of tourism entertainment in particular. Tourism is experiencing an extraordinary phase and we want it to stay this way for a long time,” she said.

Marques explained that the events and entertainment that a destination provides to its visitors is essential to “dynamising the sector” and added that the tourism sector’s record-breaking performances are due to the hard work of the sector’s entrepreneurs as well as public policies.

But some challenges still lay ahead, the secretary of state said.

“We have to guarantee that tourists stay here longer. We have to reduce seasonality and improve territorial cohesion. We have to reflect and do a better job in the future. There are three challenges that we face,” she declared.

“First, we have to structure and simplify the framework of activity of tourist entertainment and event companies. Secondly, we have to continue working to improve the training of the sector’s human resources, and thirdly, we have to encourage and stimulate innovation.”

Rita Marques also revealed that the government is working on an “interministerial working group” which will include the offices of the Secretaries of State for Tourism, Environment, National Defence, Forest, Youth and Sports and Sea.

The goal, she said, is to “simplify the procedures that are needed for the development of tourist entertainment activities and the organising of events”.

Faro councillor Carlos Baía, also in attendance, urged the government not to rest on its laurels.

“It is important for the Algarve to not lose sight of the risks and challenges it faces. The true impact of Brexit is still unknown. We should focus on Andalusia which, with over eight million people, is at our doorstep and does not need an air link to get here.” However, according to Baía, the region ‘closes its door’ to its Spanish neighbours with “complicated motorway tolls” and the “inexistence of a cross-border railway”.

Credit to Maria Simiris of the Barlavento