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Portugal’s tourism industry is steadily rebounding following the COVID-19 pandemic and the growth in visitors includes a healthy uptick in travelers from the United States.During a recent visit to the United States, Portugal’s Secretary of State for Tourism, Nuno Fazenda, told TravelPulse that visitor numbers to the country for 2022 reached record levels and exceeded 2019 figures.In fact, 2022 Portugal’s overall tourism industry achieved a significant 50 percent increase in receipts compared to 2019, Fazenda said during an interview.The number U.S. visitors to Portugal, meanwhile, increased 27 percent in 2022 and spending by American travelers grew by 51 percent. U.S. tourists are now the fourth most significant market for Portugal. During just the first few months of 2023, the increase in U.S. visitors has continued unabated. For just January through February, the number of U.S. visitors to Portgual increased 26 percent over 2019 figures.
Boats in Porto, Portugal. (photo courtesy of iStock / Getty Images Plus / SeanPavonePhoto)
“The U.S. is the fastest growing market for us,” said Fazenda. “Americans are choosing Portugal.”
Air travel connections between the two countries are helping to facilitate this increase in visitation. In December 2022, there were 136 flights per week connecting Portugal with the United States.Portugal is also in the midst of develop several new tourism initiatives, Fazenda said. Those efforts include developing an exciting new partnership with the Smithsonian Institute. “We are in the process of creating cultural tourism with the Smithsonian Institute. It is a very important partnership,” said Fazenda. "We are now starting conversations between the Smithsonian and Portugal institutions in order to promote the history of Portugal and the U.S. regarding the diaspora."
Fazenda was in the United States, and specifically Washington D.C. as part of a three-day visit that included conducting a seminar with George Washington University about Portugal tourism. He and other Portugal tourism representatives also took part in a travel festival hosted by the Financial Times while in the U.S.
All of which, Fazenda indicated, is part of the deepening tourism relationship between the two countries.
“Americans are discovering Portugal and are choosing not only to visit, but also to live,” said Fazenda. "What I suggest to all Americans is to visit Portugal, because it’s destination you can’t skip.”
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Mia Taylor is an award-winning journalist who has two decades of experience. Most recently she worked as a staff writer for...
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