Tag Archives: tourism

Beja Airport alone is “not enough” to develop Alentejo tourism

ANA warns, Beja Airport alone is “not enough” to develop Alentejo tourism

The President of national airport management company ANA last week warned that, while Beja Airport is “fundamental” for the Alentejo’s growth, it is not enough to single-handedly develop the region as, he said, an airport “by itself does not generate traffic.”

Beja Airport “is a fundamental infrastructure for [the Alentejo’s] development, in as much as it creates accessibility, but, even though it is a necessary element, it is not enough”, explained ANA chief Guilhermino Rodrigues.

To be ‘enough’, he elaborated, it is necessary “to generate traffic”, which Mr. Guilhermino reasoned “an airport by itself cannot do.”

However, based on his experience at the helm of the company over the past few years, Guilhermino Rodrigues says ANA has “strong expectations” and a “strong trust” that Beja Airport will “run its course” and “establish itself as a driving force in regional development.”

“It all starts with the first flight, with the first regular operation, and then they’ll [visitors to the region] come. That is the way”, he said.

Meanwhile on Wednesday last week the first flight took off from Beja Airport, a flight of “exceptional nature”, as the infrastructure’s full certification process is not yet complete.

The flight was to Cape Verde and departed carrying around 70 passengers on a Boeing 757-200ER belonging to Cape Verde’s national flag-carrier TACV.

Even though the airport is only expected to be fully certified during the latter half of this year, Mr. Rodrigues confirmed UK tour operator Sunvil would operate 22 regular charter flights between Heathrow and Beja during the summer, from May.

He further revealed ANA was working on deals to operate regular flights to and from Beja, to Holland and Germany, as of next year.

Alentejo tourism smashes previous records

Alentejo tourism smashes previous records

In 2010 the Alentejo recorded its best ever year for tourism, smashing its previous ‘best ever’ record which was documented the year before, in 2009, with a rise of 6.7 percent in nights spent in the region.

Despite the ongoing worldwide economic crisis, last year the Alentejo registered its best results to date in terms of the amount of people spending a night in that region.

“These two years in which we have achieved our best tourist results ever were years of international and national economic crisis, but nonetheless, the Alentejo had this result”, said António Ceia da Silva, head of the Alentejo Regional Tourism Entity (ERT).

Data from the National Statistics Institute (INE) showed that, in 2010, the number of nights spent by tourists in regional hotel accommodation grew by 6.7 percent in relation to the year before, to a total of 1.179 million overnight stays.

The INE further showed that, last December, the Alentejo was the Portuguese region that registered the highest number of overnight stays, with an increase of 9.4 percent on December 2009, to a total of 65,100 stays.

In terms of revenue, the region documented a total growth of five percent.

These results were described by the head of the ERT as “unprecedented” and as “having the best year ever, for two consecutive years, very important for the region’s tourism and for the affirmation of the region as a destination of quality and excellence”.

Ceia da Silva also praised the work done by regional businesses and town halls.

He highlighted that the Alentejo registered the second biggest growth in the country, after Lisbon.

In his opinion the results are a clear sign that the efforts being made by the tourism board in promoting the region are paying off. But, he stressed, “We will not rest because of the results. We are conscious that we must fight to maintain the results that we have achieved the past two years, which will be difficult.”

Alentejo dethrones Algarve in travel ‘Oscars’


This year the Alentejo pipped the Algarve to the post in taking the award for Best National Tourism Region after its southern rival had been awarded the title for three consecutive years.


The results of the annual Publituris Portugal Travel Awards, considered by those in the industry as the ‘Oscars’ of tourism, were announced last week. A lavish gala evening was held at the Hotel Tivoli Victoria, in Vilamoura (Algarve), during which the awards were announced.

For the first time in three years the Algarve did not take the most coveted award – best national region – which instead went to the Alentejo.

Ironically, the winner for ‘Best National Tourism Region’ was announced by the head of the Algarve Regional Tourism Board (ERTA), Nuno Aires, who joked that the award would be “on loan” to the Alentejo until 2011, when it would “have to be returned”.

The award could be seen as the proverbial ‘cherry on the cake’ for the Alentejo region, which over the past year has made headlines for emerging from the financial crisis as the only region in Portugal to have registered an increase in tourism figures, visitors, occupancy and revenue included.

In the category of ‘Best 5-star Hotel’, the award went to the Ritz Four Seasons Hotel, in Lisbon, to the detriment of its competition such as the Tivoli Collections and the Blue & Green Tróia Design Hotel.

The winner for ‘Best Hotel Resort’ was the Vila Vita Park Resort & Spa, in the Algarve, which took the title from the Praia d’El Rey Golf & Beach Resort, in Óbidos, and the Choupana Hills Resort & Spa, Madeira.

In the category of ‘Best Hotel Chain’ the winner was the Tivoli Hotel & Resorts Group and ‘Best Golf Course’ was awarded to the ‘Oitavos Dunes Natural Links Golfe’, located within the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park.

Regarding transport, national airline TAP took the ‘Best Airline’ award, beating competition from Air France and Lufthansa.

‘Best Low Cost Airline’ was given to easyJet, who beat rivals Ryanair and AirBerlin to the title.

Within the ‘Best Travel Agency’ category, the award went to Nortravel’, who beat off competition from two other candidates, Soltour and MundoVip. Travel and holiday website ‘NetViagens’ took first prize for best website travel agency.

Regarding car hire companies, Europecar beat Avis and Budget to the winning position, with the award for ‘Best Incoming Operator’ being given to Citur, for the sixth consecutive time.

Spain was bestowed the ‘Best International Destination’, being favoured over France and the Dominican Republic.

The Publituris Portugal Travel Awards candidates are nominated via an online voting system, which this year drew in some 7,000 participants. A jury of 13 experts then elects the winners from each category.