The Algarve has dominated recent editions of the World Travel Awards in the category for Europe’s leading beach destination. So much so , in fact, that authorities are increasingly keen to diversify the region’s image and promote its many other diverse attractions. Like health and wellness travel, for example…
This was the central theme of the Algarve Tourism Conference at Hilton Vilamoura Resort, with a focus on “New Markets for New Times – Preparing the Algarve for a Circular Economy in the 2020s”.
Conference participants were informed that:
– The global market for medical tourism is forecast to reach US$46.6 billion by 2021.
– The global population for those aged 60-plus will reach 2.1 billion in 2050 (WHO).
– Eight major trends in the global wellness industry are valued at US$4.2 trillion (Global Wellness Institute).
They were also told by organisers that the Algarve’s natural assets were “the perfect environment for a 2020’s circular economy. By defining a sustainable development strategy and catalysing investment driven by market demand, we are going to explore the opportunities that exist for these ‘new’ markets.”
Curated by Andrew Coutts (CEO ILM Tourism & Hospitality Real Estate Group Portugal), the conference was addressed by national and international experts who provided insight into the demand side: market trends, potential source markets and consumer behaviour.
Leading Algarve tourism and travel representatives, tourist lodging operators and hotel and resort developers evaluated and considered the supply side opportunities.
On the eve of the conference, local tourism leaders stressed the importance of the region diversifying and building on its prime beach holiday status in order to benefit from the evolving tourism market.
Joao Fernandes, president of the Algarve Region Tourism Board, said, “For more than 40 years the Algarve has been the leading tourism destination in Portugal, attracting the greatest number of tourists per night. The region accounts for more than four million of nearly 19 million guest nights registered annually.
“However, we are currently engaged in a long and continuous process of diversification, demystifying the preconception that the Algarve is only sun and beach – and consequently only a summer destination. None of these assumptions are true. Although it is true that our star product is, and will always remain, the sun and beach.
“However, what people have come to discover is that there is much more than beautiful beaches… Elements such as the Mediterranean diet, or regional cultural production, levered by the Algarve 365 program, have been authentic flags in our promotion.”
For insight into the Algarve’s main tourist attractions, in addition to sun and beach, check out our comprehensive Area Guides section.