Portugal Travel Guide
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Portugal Tourism Vacation Trips
Trip Holidays Portugal offers travel tips and information for top travel places and best destinations. We feature links, resources and large selection of budget airlines, chartered planes, sea cruises, ferries, travel agencies, land transports and attractions including beaches, medical tourism, retirement homes, historical and pilgrimage tours.
Portugal attracts many tourists each year. In 2006, the country was visited by 12.8 million tourists. Tourism is playing an increasingly important role in Portugal's economy contributing with about 5% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The tourist areas are, by order of tourist receipts and earnings, Greater Lisbon, the Algarve, Portuguese Islands, Greater Porto and Northern Portugal, Alentejo, and Centro.
2007 was a record year for inbound visitors to Portugal. During the peak of the tourist season, occupancy rates registered levels of almost 100% in the Algarve and in Porto. Porto benefited from staging important world events in the summer, such as the Red Bull Air Race. Domestic tourism continued its significant increase, since the Portuguese still prefer to travel within their borders. Among the inbound countries that contributed the most to the summer’s success were Spain, the UK, Germany, The Netherlands and Ireland.
Low cost carriers continue to increase their share towards the end of the review period. After a boom in continental airports, easyJet expanded to Madeira airport with new routes including London Stansted and Bristol. Low cost airlines continued to invest in their fleets and in direct flights, creating new inbound tourism destinations. The main low cost companies operating in Portugal are easyJet, Monarch Airlines and Ryanair.
Demand for dynamic holiday packages is constantly increasing, as consumers show a preference for creating personalised holidays or travel packages. This also prompted tour operators to improve their standard packages, in order to offer a wider range of options to their customers. At the same time, online sales are increasing steadily. This trend is pushing traditional tour operators such as Viagens Abreu to improve their web platforms or to create their own online travel agency, with Star Viagens creating OTA Exit.
Portugal is one of the world’s leading destinations for health and wellness tourism. The country benefits from its climate, mineral and medicinal water properties, natural thermal baths and recent investments in hotel/resort spas. Health and wellness is the main emerging tourism area, as shown in the strategic tourism plan from the government. Health and wellness is also expected to play an important role in diminishing the seasonality of tourism in the country.
Travel and tourism will continue to be extremely important for Portugal, with visitor numbers forecast to increase significantly over the next five years. However, there is increasing competition from Eastern European destinations such as Croatia who offer similar attractions to Portugal, and are often cheaper. Portugal must keep its focus on its niche attractions such as health, nature and rural tourism to stay ahead of its competitors.
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