WITH THE Euro 2004 tournament fast approaching, the Associação para o Desenvolvimento do Turismo da Região Centro (ADTRC), which is responsible for promoting the central regions of the country, has launched a promotional campaign aimed at establishing Coimbra, Aveiro and Leiria among Portugal’s top tourist destinations.
National team captain – and the country’s most-capped football player – Fernando Couto was present at the campaign’s official launch ceremony at the Estádio Dr. Magalhães Pessoa in Leiria, the venue for two of the tournament group matches. The five million euro campaign, which will continue after the tournament, aims to highlight the region’s diversity and resources, incorporating gastronomy, hospitality, mountains, beaches, history and religion. A powerful new brand, Lusitanea, has been created to draw these diverse strands together.
ADTRC chairman Paulo Coelho hopes the investment will pay off. “We want to make sure that the many thousands of tourists coming to Portugal, driven by football’s enormous strength, will get the best service they can expect in the central region,” he said.
Visitors will be invited to ‘Surrender to Lusitanea’ – with a number of activities organised in the months leading up to Euro 2004 in a bid to build up a celebratory atmosphere. The most significant of these will be the Preparation Games – comprising friendly matches involving England, France, Switzerland and the Netherlands – before the competition proper starts, with games played across the region in Aveiro, Coimbra and Leiria. When the tournament proper begins, there will be areas where fans can come together, as well as concerts and sports events. Foreign supporters will also be offered discount rates for local hotels and restaurants, redeemable on their next stay, in a bid to get them to return to the region.