The Azores and the tourism revolution
The Azores are one of the Portuguese regions that has grown the most in recent years and tourism, increasingly internationalised, has been setting itself as one of the fundamental vectors of this growth, the MICE product being part of this success.
Aware of Tourism’s importance for its economy, the Azores have witnessed a real revolution in the last two decades. This was due to the enormous institutional effort to equip the Azorean business community with a system of incentives that would allow the creation of tourism support infrastructure. Regarding the MICE product development, considering its seasonality attenuation and the multiplier effect it generates, the necessary mechanisms were created so that this destination was positioned in the map of both national and international destinies, with a great institutional opening in attracting and supporting event hosting.
Tourism, motivated by meetings, events, congresses or incentives, is one of the facets of the Azorean tourism that is being developed and internationalised, thanks to the quality of infrastructure in the hotel and multifunctional venues area, for the which institutional and business initiative were decisive.
The Azores tourism quality recognition is reflected in the increasing demand, nationally and internationally, for our destination for events, highlighting the last two major events in the area of Tourism, namely the ABTA and the APAVT congresses, for their novelty and security. Also its location makes it attractive to the market of international associations, since it presents itself as a short-haul destination for both the European and American Continents, offering an endless range of opportunities for incentives and team-building events, for which imagination is the limit.
It offers unique experiences, only possible in the Azores, and that can, over the next few years, serve as a differentiating factor between destinations. It has a new range of young professionals with more knowledge and more experience, qualities that new buyers seek. It offers the opportunity, in a short time, and with comfort and ease, to visit several islands and create various experiences around the same destination.
We are aware the buyer is becoming more knowledgeable, more informed and more demanding, so we have sought to make the difference in the quality of our services, the simplicity of procedures in organising the events and the greatest possible support to the potential client.
Today potential visitors in general and buyers in particular are looking for different experiences and this requires either new destinations or a new view on established destinations. The novelty factor is important for our Islands and, coupled with strong creativity of local agents and security, we have been gaining notoriety in the markets.
Considering the good air connections, mainly with the Portuguese market, good infrastructure, excellent scenarios for outdoor activities and the know-how and competence from professionals, the Azores present themselves to the MI destinations sector in a highly differentiating and attractive way.
Given the events that are already planned for the next two years, the future prospects are obviously good if we consider that the results have been steadily growing, which leads us to think that we are on the right track and that we should not deviate from the initially defined path, that is transforming the Azores into a reference MICE destination.
by Cristina Ávila, Tourism Delegate in the Regional Secretariat for Tourism in the Azores
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