Açoriano Oriental
Destination promotion must respond to the sector’s dynamics

The Chamber of Commerce of Ponta Delgada states that the promotion work of the Azores destination has been "damaged", at a time when the opening of several new hotels is being prepared

Autor: Paula Gouveia

The president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Ponta Delgada (CCIPD), Mário Fortuna, believes that the promotion of the Azores destination cannot fail, at a time when the opening of new hotels is being prepared, and the conjuncture consists of a reduction of the available income of tourists coming from the Region’s issuing markets.

Mário Fortuna says that "what we hope is that the process of the former ATA - now Visit Azores - is quickly concluded, because we need to do serious promotion again. Fortuna warns that the fact the tourism market was favorable to the Azores last year doesn't mean that it will be so this year. "Next year what will happen is that, with the worsening of people's disposable income in our issuing markets, we run the risk of having a not such a good year in terms of tourism," he says.

Therefore, "we need to do a lot of promotion to be sure that we will not have a retraction in tourism. Several new hotels are expected to open in São Miguel, including international chains, such as the Hilton in Lagoa, the Marriott at the Belém roundabout, Vila Galé and Accor, both in downtown Ponta Delgada. Some of them will open in the middle of the year."

In other words, Fortuna explains, "we will have much more supply, we will have thousands of beds in São Miguel in the next two years, which means that there needs to be a promotion at the level of this dynamic sector, otherwise we will generate a tremendous crisis" in tourism, he warns, stressing that “there is a huge responsibility to ensure that the promotion exists and with the quality that is necessary and due.”

Tourism cannot "be left to the whim of circumstances. It has been deeply damaged, recently, with the hesitations regarding the tool that we have for tourist promotion, that is Visit Azores (formerly ATA)".

From his point of view, “there has been too much unjustified hesitation, in our view, regarding the problem’s definitive resolution.”

For Mário Fortuna, the association in charge of promoting the Azores as a destination "has had to recover, over the last four years, from very deep problems that already existed when the previous government decided to leave the institution. But the work is done and should be appreciated and not belittled, as has been done in some circumstances," he argues.

The president of the Chamber of Commerce maintains that Tourism "is a key sector for the Azores. We can dream of high-tech, more sophisticated economies, but for now it's a dream, and it can’t come true from one year to the next. So in the immediate future what we have as our greatest opportunity is growth in the area of tourism. And if we want the Azores to be richer, to have more jobs, more work opportunities, tourism is the best sector to achieve this desideratum," he argues.

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