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Portugal Tourism Report - Latin America

IPDAL publishes the study presented at the X Tourism Forum “Portugal – Latin America”, with the evolution of the relationship between the country and the region over the last 10 years.

INTRODUCTORY NOTE After 10 years of consecutively bringing together Latin American ambassadors in Lisbon with the main actors in Portuguese tourism, IPDAL made a commitment to analyze the evolution of tourist exchanges between the country and the region, since precisely 2008.

At a time when the sector is showing unprecedented relevance in the Portuguese economy, registering absolute records in tourist arrivals, various investments, job creation, innovation in the provision of services and activities associated with the sector, it makes even more sense for IPDAL to prepare this current situation and present it at the X Tourism Forum.

Latin American and Caribbean countries, as emerging economies, have seen their middle classes and the purchasing power of their populations grow. At the same time, the governments of these countries have shown themselves to be increasingly committed to developing their tourism sectors, taking advantage not only of the attractiveness of their natural and cultural resources but also of the growing stability of their socioeconomic conditions. The credibility that has been recognized by the international community is also reflected in the increase in tourist arrivals. Due to this combination of factors, Latin American and Caribbean destinations have gradually consolidated themselves as strategic investment options for Portuguese companies and increasingly popular choices in the range of Portuguese preferences.

IPDAL, whose mission and permanent effort is precisely to strengthen relations between Portugal and the region, cannot fail to be congratulated for, from the outset, having identified Tourism as one of the fundamental axes of this relationship. The fact that there is a growing number of Portuguese people choosing countries in the region to spend their holidays, expand their business and invest, in the same way that there is a growing interest on the part of the citizens of these countries in visiting Portugal, is a reason for enormous satisfaction for IPDAL.

In this report, we present official data, mostly provided by Turismo de Portugal and systematized by the Institute, which illustrate the evolution of tourist exchanges between Portugal and the region: we analyze the number of tourists who have traveled in the last 10 years, the opening of air connections and the most relevant Portuguese investments in Latin America and the Caribbean from 2009 to 2016 – most recent data record.

1. TOURIST FLOWS FROM LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN TO PORTUGAL

Tourist flows from Latin America and the Caribbean to Portugal have been increasing significantly since 2009 until the last record. This increase is measured both in terms of the number of guests and the number of overnight stays in hotels, villages and tourist apartments, among others.

We can confirm that it is from Brazil that most of the region’s tourists arrive in Portugal, with approximately 84% of guests coming from Latin America and the Caribbean.

On the other hand, it is from the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Paraguay and Panama that fewer tourists come to Portugal.

When we look at the table of tourist flows between Latin America and Portugal, measured in terms of overnight stays, we conclude that, since 2009, the number of overnight stays in Portugal, by Latin American and Caribbean tourists, has been constantly increasing, with the exception of tourists from Cuba and Venezuela, whose overnight stays in Portugal decreased from 2009 to 2016.

2. TOURIST FLOWS FROM PORTUGAL TO LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN

Regarding tourist flows from Portugal to Latin America and the Caribbean, measured by number of trips, we see that in general they have also been evolving significantly.

Looking at the table, we can conclude that tourism flows from Portugal to Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and the Dominican Republic decreased from 2009 to 2016, with the most visible decrease being that of trips to Brazil. However, in the group of countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, Brazil clearly remains the favorite destination for the Portuguese, having a significantly greater weight in terms of the number of trips than any other destination in the region. In 2016, it represented more than 50% of Portuguese trips to the entire region.

Travel to Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela has been increasing since 2009.

3. AIR FLOWS BETWEEN PORTUGAL AND LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN

Air flows between Portugal and Latin America and the Caribbean were analyzed based on the number of weekly direct flights in the summer months.

In this sense, and looking at the tables above, we can see that in 2017, there were 16 direct flights between the different airports in Portugal and the different airports and cities in Latin America and the Caribbean. Since 11 of these flights are to Brazilian cities, there are a total of 97 weekly connections.

The largest number of destinations was reached in 2014 and 2015, with Portugal having direct air connections to 19 cities in the region.

We also concluded that there have been no direct flights from Madeira airport to the region since 2015 and that the only direct flights from Porto airport to Latin America are to São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Thus, Lisbon airport is the Portuguese airport that makes the most direct air connections between Portugal and Latin American and Caribbean cities, currently 97.

Currently, there are only direct and regular connections from Portugal to Brazil and Venezuela.

PORTUGAL INVESTMENTS IN LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN Portugal’s investments in Latin America and the Caribbean, in the tourism sector, essentially translate into the number of Portuguese hotel companies that have units in the region. In this sense, we can count on the following hotel groups: Pestana Group, Vila Galé Group, D. Pedro Group, Porto Bay Group, and the Enotel Hotels and Resorts Group (Estevão Neves da Madeira Group).

Since 2008, the following tourist developments have been opened:

BRAZIL Grupo Pestana Pestana Bahia Lodge – Located in Salvador, Bahia (403 apartments, 17 suites and 3 presidential suites); Pestana Convento do Carmo – Located in Salvador, Bahia (79 rooms);

Vila Galé Group Vila Galé Cucumbo – Located in Ceará, it is an all-inclusive resort (416 rooms and suites and 49 chalets); Vila Galé Rio de Janeiro – Located in Rio de Janeiro (292 apartments); Vila Galé Eco Resort de Angra – Located in Angra dos Reis on an all-inclusive basis (319 apartments); Vila Galé Eco Resort do Cabo – All-inclusive resort located in Recife – Pernambuco (300 apartments); Vila Galé Touros – Under construction;

Grupo Dom Pedro Dom Pedro Laguna – Located on the east coast of Ceará, it is part of the Aquiraz Riviera luxury Eco-Resort (64 apartments, 22 water villas, 8 presidential villas, 8 royal villas);

Porto Bay Porto Bay São Paulo Group – Located in São Paulo (boutique hotel with 84 apartments);

Note: The then Portuguese Tivoli opened the São Paulo-Moffarej – Located in São Paulo (217 rooms);

CUBA Grupo Pestana Pestana Cayo Coco Beach Resort – Located in Cayo Coco (508 rooms);

VENEZUELA Grupo Pestana Pestana Caracas – Located in Caracas (195 rooms)

CONCLUSION Tourist relations between Portugal and the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean have clearly changed positively in recent years. With regard to tourist flows from Latin America and the Caribbean to Portugal, we can say that, in general, we are facing a growth trend. With the exception of Cuba and Venezuela, whose number of visitors decreased from 2009 to 2016, all other countries have shown this constant increase. Likewise, tourist flows from Portugal to Latin America and the Caribbean have shown a general evolution over the last 10 years. Countries such as Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay are increasingly within the Portuguese tourist options.

History has made Portugal and Brazil forever closely linked and this is reflected in all areas of relationship. We can also observe this proximity in the tourism sector, since, despite a decrease in the tourist flow from Portugal to Brazil, from 183.7 thousand trips in 2009 to 150 thousand in 2016, this continues to be, among all other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, the main tourist destination for the Portuguese.

Naturally, of the total number of Latin American and Caribbean tourists, Brazilians are those who come in greater numbers to Portugal.

A very important factor for this development of Tourism between Portugal and Latin America is air flows, that is, the existence of air routes between both countries. In this sense, Brazil once again has an advantage over other countries in the region, as it is the country with the most direct air connections from Portugal. In the summer months there are also direct flights between Lisbon and Cancún and Lisbon and Punta Cana, as these are also two of the Portuguese’s favorite beach destinations. There are also direct flights to Caracas, and the vast majority of direct flights to the region leave from Lisbon Airport.

Regarding Portuguese investment in the tourism sector in the region, the Pestana Group is clearly the most present hotel group, with projects in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba and Venezuela.

However, although the tourism scenario between Portugal and Latin America and the Caribbean is quite encouraging and has evolved positively in recent years, the potential for development is still enormous.

Taking into account the shared cultural, ethnic, linguistic, historical and religious affinities, visits by Latin Americans in the Portuguese global panorama continue to be quite low. Excluding Brazil, which accounts for almost 6%, Latin America and the Caribbean still represents just 1% of total guests in Portugal. Source: all tables and data were provided to IPDAL by Turismo de Portugal.