With ethical tourism policies and eco-friendly initiatives high on the global agenda, Portugal has put in place a cohesive strategy to position the nation as a leading destination within the sustainability criteria and a thought leader in the future for European and cross-continental tourism. 

Portugal Aims to Become One of the Most Sustainable Tourist Destinations in the World

The Portuguese Tourism Board, Turismo de Portugal, will manage the 2027 strategy approved by the Portuguese Government in 2017 under the patronage of Ana Mendes Godinho (Secretariat of State for Tourism Portugal) to embed sustainability into the national tourism policy. Resulting from a national debate, the initiative has outlined several crucial goals and targets to be reached across three dimensions of sustainability: Economic, social and environmental. 

With ethical tourism policies and eco-friendly initiatives high on the global agenda, Portugal has put in place a cohesive strategy to position the nation as a leading destination within the sustainability criteria and a thought leader in the future for European and cross-continental tourism. 

Environmental Sustainability

The 2027 strategy looks to maximize the efficient management of water, energy and waste. The objective is to improve environmental efficiency from the public and private sector related with tourism, increased efficiency and focused development in the effective management of resources. The key milestones pertaining to the environment include boosting the number of tourism companies developing energy efficiency, water and waste measures by 90 percent by 2027.

Social Sustainability 

The strategy will also work with three goals in mind: To solidify the standard of qualification for the Portuguese workforce, reduce seasonality amongst tourists and improve residents’ satisfaction with the process of tourism development. The following social goals have been outlined:

  • Skillset – The 2027 strategy will aim to increase the number of "secondary" level skilled workers from 30 percent (2015) to 60 percent, and superior skilled workers from 12 percent (2015) to 28 percent.
  • Year-round Tourism – To reduce seasonality from 37.5 percent to 33.5 percent by 2027 and have tourism figures positively even out across all seasons.
  • Local attitudes towards tourism – To increase the number of locals recognizing the positive impacts of tourism by 90 percent in 2027. 

Economic Sustainability 

The 2027 Tourism Strategy will also focus on boosting economic sustainability by increasing the number of overnight stays and revenues from tourism as a result of the touristic activity.

The strategy outlines a clear plan to have overnight stays in the country rise from 48.9 million (2015) to 80 million by 2027. In return, revenue generated as a result of tourism will look to rise at a rate beyond double from 11.5 billion (2015) to 26 billion in 2027. There will also be an aim to increase the average stay and average spend of guests in certain regions as this can be a decisive factor in economic progress. The monthly evolution of overnight stays by region also allows for the seasonality of tourism to be managed. Further to this there is an active emphasis on increasing the average stay and spend of guests in non-traditional regions to promote additional and balanced demand dispersal to accelerate significant economic progress.

2027 Action Plan 

The action plan includes seven key verticals put in place in order to ensure the stability of tourism based on the following five strategic axes; Value the territory, boosting the economy, enhancing knowledge, increasing connectivity and promoting the country. Some of the measures already implemented include:

  • “Valorizar” Program – To stimulate a more balanced distribution of tourism demand, reduce seasonality and generate employment throughout the country. This action plan includes support for providing Wi-Fi access in historical/tourist areas, supporting projects to implement measures for people with special needs, developing and enhancing the heritage and endogenous resources of the regions and initiatives to promote greater integration between tourists and residents to ultimately improve resident’s quality of life whilst also improving their recognition towards the value of tourism for the community. During the first two years of the program, 1719 proposals were submitted to Turismo de Portugal to which 641 were approved with an incentive of €91.3 million.
  • Portuguese Trails – Aimed at stimulating cycling and walking routes in Portugal to position the country as an international destination for this activity. This action plan will focus on the qualifications of regional destinations to capture new markets and promote business services in partnership with industry stakeholders.  
  • Portuguese Waves – Aimed at promoting the sustainability of surf spots. The main aim of this vertical is to highlight the country’s excellence as a surfing destination whilst also promoting best practices in the way of sustainable tourism. This includes the preservation of nature.
  • Sustainability Criteria for Investment & Classification- To promote sustainability throughout the value chain. This includes the adoption of environmental and social sustainability in the licensing and public recognition of projects, include sustainability as a relevant element in the classification system of tourism enterprises and to ensure the integration of sustainability concepts in courses and training of future professionals in the sector.
  • Promoting a more inclusive tourism- To promote ‘all for all – Portuguese tourism’ insuring our country facilities as well as enterprises are prepared for anyone, independent of their needs. 
  • Innovation – To build the future of sustainable tourism. This will be actioned by the Tourism Innovation Centre, in partnership with companies like Google and Microsoft, in order to promote technology, new business ideas, transition into a digital economy, open innovation programs, all this in partnership with tourism leaders and other stakeholders from inside and outside the industry.
  • Promote Knowledge – To make progress measurable. This will involve programs to monitor the environmental performance of tourism enterprises and sustainability at destination level. Further to this there will be a network of sustainability observatories and mobile data to identify impact. This will also see the participation in international projects to promote knowledge in tourism sustainability via UNWTO MST, INSTO and other educational vehicles. 

Related Stories

Marriott International to Debut the W Hotels Brand in Toronto

New Corporate Group Meetings Options for Fall 2019 in California and Tennessee

Los Cabos Tourism Board Opens New Office in Los Angeles

Teneo Quadruples Presence in Europe