The much-publicised ‘French invasion’ which has seen the number of French people visiting or buying homes in Portugal grow in recent years has continued in 2016.
Portugal has been named the seventh most popular destination in the world for French tourists, in a list led by Greece. But Portugal is number one when it comes to the biggest increase of French holidaymakers this summer, with the number of French visiting Portugal up 40%.
The announcement was made by René-Marc Chikli of France’s union of tour operators at the Portuguese Embassy in Paris on Wednesday (June 28).
Portugal’s Secretary of State for Tourism Ana Mendes Godinho attended the press conference and was excited by the news.
“Portugal is being talked about in France as a country that’s worth discovering. It has been receiving great feedback from those who have already visited the country and the word is spreading among the French,” she told Lusa news agency.
Godinho said that “Portugal is in fashion” but warned that it cannot be a popular destination just during the high season.
“Portugal is much more than just a ‘sun and beach’ destination. There is more and more that Portugal can offer 365 days per year,” the government official said.
The goal is to start bringing French holidaymakers to Portugal in winter as well as summer.
Godinho added that “97% of the French who visit Portugal want to return” and “many of them decide to purchase homes here”.
She added that “99% of those who travel to Portugal are completely surprised by what they find”, stressing that the country is “authentic but modern” and thus “different” from what most people expect.
The secretary of state is on a tour around Europe to meet with “journalists, bloggers, tour operators and airlines” in order to define tourism-related strategies for the next community framework for 2021-2027.
Godinho will also travel to London, Frankfurt, Cologne and Madrid, according to Lusa.