Algarve gears up for 2019 Algarve Tourism Conference

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Tourism and real estate professionals are gearing up for the second Algarve Tourism Conference which runs at the Hilton Vilamoura Hotel on Friday, 27 September. Essential business talks to Andrew Coutts, CEO of the ILM Tourism & Hospitality Real Estate Group Portugal who is spearheading the event along with the Portugal-Irish Business Network (IPBN) and Dengun Digital Agency.

What are the key objectives of the 2019 Algarve Tourism Conference and who are the chief organisers?
The second instalment of the Algarve Tourism Conference will take place at the Hilton Vilamoura Resort on Friday September 27, 2019. It will deliver in-depth analysis of the Algarve’s tourism sector, identifying key areas for growth and strategies for sustainable development, with a key focus on health, medical, wellness and senior tourism. The conference is organised by the ILM Real Estate Group in association with the Ireland Portugal Business Network (IPBN) and Dengun Digital Agency. The Anglo-Portuguese ILM Real Estate Group is a leader in sustainable tourism delivering a broad package of real estate management support, geared towards the hospitality sector. Meanwhile, the IPBN focuses on driving bi-lateral trade between Portugal and Ireland, including leisure and tourism markets. Faro-based Dengun Digital Agency is one’s Portugal’s leading marketing and event management firms.

Who are the key speakers and what will be discussed?
More than 25 expert speakers will appear at this year’s event including Algarve Region Tourism Board (RTA) President João Fernandes and Algarve Regional Coordination and Development Commission (CCDR) President Francisco Serra. Other high-profile participants include ProMatura, GSI Health & Wellness Exchange, Revive Clinic Algarve, Grupo HPA Saude, Longevity, Vale do Lobo, ASPA and Pine Cliffs Resort/UIP.
The full-day conference will specifically address demand-side aspects of emerging tourism markets including current trends, case studies, potential source markets and ‘new consumer’ behaviour. A revolving panel of leading tourism and travel players, marketeers, technology experts, tourist lodging operators, real estate operators, hotel, resort and residential developers will further review business-related, supply-side opportunities in the Algarve.

Key themes include:
• The opportunity for an Algarve circular economy and a sustainable tourism sector
• Health Tourism
• Medical Tourism
• Wellness
• Senior Living

What makes the 2019 Algarve Tourism Conference different?
The Algarve Tourism Conference has established itself as one of Portugal’s leading annual business events attracting an international audience. It has a clear focus on the Algarve tourism market which continues to offer significant investment opportunities which have perhaps been overshadowed by the rapid recent development elsewhere in country, including Lisbon and Porto. There are many sites in the Algarve which retain outline planning permission, dating back to the recession, which are now ripe for exploration. The conference provides a unique opportunity to shed light on some of the best opportunities within the region’s tourism sector showing how developers can best adapt plans to the change in market trends.
This year’s key theme centres around the global ‘Health and Wellness’ travel movement. What is driving this growth?
The health and wellness industry burst into mainstream consumer consciousness a few years ago. It’s now a multi-billion-Euro industry with businesses and governments piling investment into new strategies, products, experiences, and destinations. Wellness, hospitality, and travel are converging in diverse and unprecedented ways as businesses experiment with new partnerships and models to help travellers incorporate wellness into every aspect of their trips.
Worldwide ‘wellness tourism’ spend is now expected to surpass €900billion by 2022, representing 18pc of the global tourism market. Recent reports from the GWI (Global Wellness Institute) predict wellness tourism trips to grow by 8pc annually reaching €1.2billion by 2022. Meanwhile, Europe is currently topping the polls as the most popular destination for health and wellness travel.
The growth surge is being influenced by a series of factors including an expanding global middle class and growing consumer demand for wellness lifestyles. A rising interest in experiential travel and increasing affordability of flights and travel options are pushing demand.

Why is the Algarve well positioned to benefit from the rapid expansion of health and wellness travel?
The €600billion spent globally each year by health and wellness travellers is distributed among many segments of the tourism industry – from food and lodging, to activities, excursions, shopping, and other services. Within each segment, some expenditures may include wellness-focused activities, such as visiting a hot spring, getting a massage, or taking a meditation or fitness class. Other expenditures may be ‘generic’, such as transportation, general food and lodging, or buying souvenirs. As more consumers incorporate wellness into their lifestyles, there are more opportunities for all businesses to capture a share of the spend from these high-value tourists.
The Algarve could be transformed if it studies this activity closely and successfully harnesses the potential of the global health and wellness movement. It has perfect conditions for health, wellness and active travel as one of the sunniest destinations in Europe with easy access to beaches, oceans and countryside. This opens opportunities for virtually all outdoor activities from water sports like surfing and kayaking to trail-running, hiking and restorative activities such as pilates and yoga. We are also witnessing a surge in professional sports related tourism with world class athletes and clubs increasingly looking to stage training camps in the Algarve.
Our region further benefits from strong local supply chains in areas including technology, sustainability and innovation. It has all the ingredients to become a ‘Mecca’ for health and wellness travellers worldwide. However, the onus is now on the local market to work together and harness the opportunity by creating a robust plan for the years to come.
One of the weaknesses we have observed in the Algarve is the disconnect between key operators within the tourism sector, leading to missed opportunities. Greater communication and cooperation across the sector between these markets would be mutually beneficial. Medical tourism for example remains relatively untapped in our region. We are beginning to see new high-level facilities in the Algarve combining modern and regenerative medicine with advanced wellness and preventative diagnostics, therapies and programmes. This will be an area of major growth in the coming decades. But in order to fully capitalise on these ‘new tourism markets’ for ‘new times’ we must develop a more fluid and connected approach when positioning and packaging tourism products to new consumers.

Another key focus for the 2019 Algarve Tourism Conference is the creation of a ‘Circular Economy’. What exactly is a Circular Economy and how does this relate to the tourism industry.
A circular economy is a system aimed at minimising waste and making the most of resources. In a circular system resource input and waste such as emission and energy leakage are reduced by slowing, closing, and narrowing energy and material loops. This can be achieved through long-lasting design, maintenance, repair, reuse, remanufacturing, refurbishing, and recycling. This regenerative approach is in contrast to the traditional linear economy, which has a ‘take, make, dispose’ model of production. The Algarve is making an active transition to a circular economy. It is laying foundations on which to build a framework for an economy that is resilient and has significant environmental and societal benefits, while simultaneously creating business and economic opportunities. With tourism forming a central pillar of the Algarve economy it is essential that professionals across the industry work in partnership to develop a meaningful plan which not only contributes to the broader pursuit of a circular economy but also capitalises on emerging opportunities in the marketplace.

Who should attend the 2019 Algarve Tourism Conference and why?
The Algarve Tourism Conference is one of Portugal’s leading tourism events enabling public and private sector professionals to share knowledge and best practice. It provides a platform to discuss larger global trends and the future for our region while pinpointing where the greatest opportunities lie. It also crucially gives delegates access to decision makers, opinion formers and business leaders across the tourism, leisure and hospitality sector. Stakeholders from across Portugal’s tourism sector are being encouraged to attend September’s conference, most notably tourism and travel entrepreneurs and innovators, travel trade and destination management company (DMC) professionals, resort, hotel and tourism development lodging managers and operators, real estate developers and investors, real estate managers and realtors.

How can participants get involved?
There are many additional ways participants can get involved, including promotional flyers to exhibition space in the conference hall along with sponsor and partnership opportunities available.

For more information on the conference visit For more information on tickets, sponsorship and exhibition space email [email protected] or call +351 969 196 055