Another night of tourism ‘Oscars’ in Madeira saw Portugal walking away with its customary arms full of awards: best beach, best island (Madeira), best city, best cruise port and best tourist destination, among so many other accolades – with VIPs in the sector all giving themselves the usual pats on the back.
But what really nails it for Portugal perhaps is the latest UK Post Office survey which shows this country to be not ‘just’ a wonderful choice for almost any kind of holiday, but it can be an extremely competitively-priced one, too.
Portugal comes in at second place in the survey (behind Bulgaria), with prices in the Algarve announced as “down by over 16%”, and a break in Porto “the best bet in Europe”, with prices a third of those currently charged in Lisbon.
For families longing for a combination of sunshine and value for money, the Post Office makes Portugal a very clear contender.
Spain, Turkey, Greece, Slovakia and Indonesia are the others ranked in the top six for ‘best value holidays’, while France, Italy, Scandinavia, the Caribbean and Dubai offer the ‘worst value’ options, with prices off the scale.
But back to those ‘Oscars’, also known as the World Travel Awards, which hold gala ceremonies at various points each year, culminating always with a Grand Finale in or around November.
This time, Portugal clinched no less than 39 ‘Oscars’, including Europe’s Leading Tourist Board (Turismo de Portugal), Europe’s Leading Adventure Tourist Attraction (Passadiços do Paiva, Arouca), Europe’s Leading All-Inclusive Resort (Pestana Porto Santo), Europe’s Leading Business Hotel (Epic Sana, Lisbon), Europe’s Leading Luxury Lifestyle Resort (Conrad, Algarve), Europe’s Leading Luxury Hotel & Villas (Vila Vita Parc) and Europe’s Leading Beach Resort (Hotel Quinta do Lago).
The list goes on – with quite a few more winners from the Algarve – and can be consulted on www.worldtravelawards.com
As ever, tourism bosses have been basking in the results, saying they are ‘enormously important’.
The Algarve’s president of tourism João Fernandes is delighted with the fact that the region has won the best beach destination category for the sixth time, stressing “this is a record”.
Quizzed over what this summer has in store for a region that fills to bursting over the summer months, Fernandes has said that “expectations are good”.
While he’s not talking about ‘record-breaking’ in terms of numbers, summer visitors are forecast to keep up with totals of the most recent years, and this has been helped by the “increase of airline routes” into Faro.
Bottom line: the Algarve has “quantity, variety and quality”, he said, praising the “excellent work” developed by all the relevant entities, and the “warmth of the people involved”.
By NATASHA DONN
Photo: Carlos Abade receiving the award on behalf of Turismo de Portugal from Graham E. Cooke, founder and president of the World Travel Awards