The Secretary of State for Tourism said today that the Douro helped to open the tourist map of Portugal and revealed that in six years, the territory doubled the number of overnight stays and quadrupled the foreign visitors.
“The Douro is also an example of what has happened in Portugal, the ability to open the tourist map of Portugal based on what the country has unique, its natural and cultural heritage, gastronomy and wine tourism,” said Ana Mendes Godinho.
Tourism was, he said, “centralized on the coast” and, in recent years, has spread throughout the territory.
The governor spoke on the sidelines of the evocative ceremony of the 17 years of the classification of the Alto Douro Vinhateiro (ADV) as a UNESCO World Heritage that took place in Santa Marta de Penaguião, district of Vila Real.
The classification brought recognition, visibility, more investment and tourists to the territory.
Ana Mendes Godinho said precisely that the Douro is “an example of a region that has managed to become more and more touristy” and said that in the last two years it was the stage for 28 new wine tourism projects, in an investment of 40 millions of euros.
“What shows the dynamics of the territory well,” he said.
The Secretary of State also highlighted the number of overnight stays in the 19 municipalities that make up the Intermunicipal Community (CIM) of the Douro.
According to the official, in 2012, 189 thousand overnight stays were registered, of which 28 thousand corresponded to foreign visitors.
In 2017, 393 thousand overnight stays were counted and of these 164 thousand correspond to foreigners.
“Doubling tourist numbers in the Douro have doubled, but more interestingly, the number of foreigners has quadrupled,” he said. “It means that we are also getting the Douro on the map of international demand.”
For the minister, the UNESCO brand is “very powerful“.
“The motivations of tourists are also, increasingly, due to brands … There are several markets, such as the Chinese market, where one of the main reasons for travelling has to do with classified heritage, “he said.
Ana Mendes Godinho said, however, that “there is still a lot to be done” and that “there is a huge space to increasingly affirm the Douro“, a territory where it says that it is necessary to help to fix the young people.
The results of the “Somos Douro” initiative, launched by the Regional Coordination and Regional Development Commission of the North (CCDR-N), and the results of a survey of the region’s youth about what they expect are presented today.
The survey took into account the approximately 42 thousand young people that exist in the 19 municipalities of the Douro, aged between 15 and 34 years, and involved a sample of 381 people for a reflection on what motivates this group to remain in the Douro or to settle in another destination.
According to the study, more than 73% of young Douro respondents imagined themselves residing in the Douro region three years after the study and the main motivations of those who wish to leave are related to the desire to study abroad and the search for better opportunities professionals.