Tourist

Lisbon tourism fair sees international exhibitors at all-time high

33rd edition of BTL opens next week

The manager of BTL – Lisbon Tourism Fair – expects this year’s edition of the sector’s main fair to be “one of the best ever”, with the area fully occupied and the largest number of foreign destinations ever.

The 33rd edition of BTL will take place between Wednesday March 1 and Sunday March 5, at the Lisbon International Fair at Parque das Nações.

“The expectations are extraordinary. Our expectation is that this BTL will be one of the best editions ever,” said Dália Palma in interview with Lusa news agency.

This is all due to “the recovery of the sector” last year, which in the case of the last edition of the fair “closed 2022 with numbers very close to the best year ever” (2019).

Approximately a week ago, around 90% of spaces available in the fair had been contracted. Now that number has reached 100%”.

The first to be “completely sold out” was “the international area, the hotel, equipment and services area”, which in this edition will be spread across four pavilions.

Dália Palma added that there is “a huge diversity of offers in terms of international destinations (…) In terms of new features, we have Tunisia which is the International guest destination and we have tourism of the central region (of Portugal) as a national guest destination. Aveiro will be the invited local authority”, she added.

In terms of the central themes of the fair’s programme, Dália Palma highlights “sustainability”, as well as “innovation and the area of technology and the training and requalification of human resources” – the latter being one of the themes that has been most debated in recent years, given its scarcity as a constraint to the sector’s development.

“In terms of thematic areas, we have BTL Cultural because it is an area that has been growing over these last three editions, which is curated by Lisbon’s Gulbenkian foundation. We have the BTL Lab part, which is an innovation area where we present companies in the technology area. It has been around for four years now, but it has been growing and there is an increasing demand. The big novelty in terms of thematic areas this year is LGBTI+”, she added.

Part of the “enhancement of diversity” in the different areas of the BTL’s national offer and a segment for which demand has been growing in Portugal.

“This year was a happy coincidence because Portugal won Euro Pride 2025” with the Variações – Association of Trade and Tourism LGBTI  present this year at BTL, said Dália Palma, also addressing the role played by international ‘hosted buyers’, a programme that aims to support the coming of international buyers with specific interest in the destination Portugal, which this year has “about 120 international operators”.

“It’s a growth of about 20% compared to last year. Last year we had around 100 buyers, because there were also markets that were closed. Not this year, there are 26 source markets, including Europe, Asia, America and Africa.

“BTL’s Training and Employability Exchange will also be highlighted, which aims to boost the labour market in the sector, bringing employers and candidates closer together, and seeks to contribute to mitigating the problem of lack of qualified labour in the tourism sector,” adds information on the event.

For a preview clip on the fair, click here

LUSA