Tourism secretary on Sky News
Portugal’s Secretary of State for Tourism, Rita Marques had a star slot on the Sky News morning business news programme Ian King Live on Monday to discuss the recovery of Portugal’s tourism industry.
While she admitted that although 2 million British tourists visited Portugal, mostly the Algarve, in 2019 from around 24 million tourists worldwide that year, she admitted that Portugal still had a problem attracting young people to work in the sector (mostly because of poor wages and the seasonal nature of the work which the Government has taken steps to change).
Rita Marques was in East London talking about visitor numbers since the Portuguese economy began to open.
“We are very optimistic, the numbers have been picking up steadily, including from the UK, while forward bookings have been awesome and we will continue to resume (air traffic) and tourism in safe way.”
The Tourism secretary said it would take a while for tourism to return to pre-pandemic levels, by 2023. “Fear is our biggest competitor and we have to foster trust as much as possible”, she said, adding that tourism was responsible for 9% of the country’s GDP and employed 10% of its workforce.
“We do have a talent challenge we need people to work in the industry. A lot of people have left the industry (10-20%) and not returned, but this is a worldwide phenomena,”, the secretary explained. “We are fighting hard to win them back”.
And what was Rita Marques “pitch” as to why Portugal should be a top travel destination to UK holidaymakers? “A 2-hour flight, good value for money, nice wine and beer and great gastronomy,” concluded the Tourism secretary.