Presented by the Albufeira Promotion Bureau and the Portuguese National Tourist Office, the evening featured a dinner and a trade show for travel agents and tour operators to connect with 17 supplier partners from the destination.
Counting the weather, culture, heritage, hospitality and gastronomy – “food and very good wine” – as some of the reasons for Canadians to visit, Luis Pereira, general manager of the Albufeira Promotion Bureau told PressToday visitors can explore walking trails from the Spanish border to Sagres, the most southwestern point in Europe, and from Sagres to the outskirts of Lisbon.
“At the moment The Algarve is developing a lot of products,” he says. “We have bird-watching, walking trails, cycling, dolphin-watching in the wild, boat tours, there’s a lot of activities, it’s not only sun, sand and golf. We have an event program we call it 365 days, every day will have an event running.”
Returning to Toronto for the first time since 2011, he said the goal of the event was to increase the year-round interest in Albufeira as Canadian travel to Portugal has increased strongly over the past few years.
“The Algarve is not just for the springtime, people can go there all year round,” he says. “I know that Canadians want to skip winter and go specifically to the Algarve for long stays in the winter but maybe we can grow a little bit more in the fall, people can go and experience the summer, for a week, for long stays I think we could grow also in the fall.
As Albufeira is located 30 minutes from Faro International Airport, Pereira hopes to see Air Transat increase the frequency of direct flights into the destination and for Air Canada to add a direct route in the near future.
“Basically at the moment we have demand, we have the product, but we don’t have the seat flights,” he says. “We have in total in the Algarve 195,000 overnights from Canada. If we divide that by the number of average nights, we have something around 30,000 tourists. It’s not much. We can double, we can triple it if we have the flights from Canada.”
Suppliers on hand for the event were Albufeira Promotion Bureau, Air Transat/Transat Tours Canada, AlgarveResorts, Apartamentos Turisticos Do Parque, Balaia Golf Village, Edificio Albufeira Apartamentos; Falesia Hotel, Garvetur – Holiday Rentals, Hotel Navegadores – Monte Gordo, Luna Hotels & Resorts, MGM Muthu Hotels, MTS Globe – DMC, Nau Hotels & Resorts, Real Hotels Group, Rocamar Hotels & Resorts, Vila Gale Hotels and Visacar Rent A Car.
Pictured at the event (top) are Luis Pereira of the Albufeira Promotion Bureau and William Delgado of the Portuguese National Tourist Office. Middle: the suppliers from Albufeira who were on hand to meet with the trade. Bottom: Transat’s Dan Prior and Steve Brown.