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Madeira: A Jewel of Tourism Hosts Prestigious World Travel Awards Grand Final and World Golf Awards

Madeira: A Jewel of Tourism Hosts Prestigious World Travel Awards Grand Final and World Golf Awards

Nestled in the Atlantic Ocean, Madeira is an enchanting archipelago known for its rugged landscapes, lush greenery, and warm hospitality. Renowned as a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, it has recently elevated its status by hosting the Grand Final of the World Travel Awards and the 11th World Golf Awards, both to be held this November. This dual showcase not only highlights Madeira’s commitment to excellence in tourism but also underscores its growing prominence on the European golf stage.

Madeira’s allure lies in its diverse offerings, appealing to travellers seeking adventure, relaxation, and cultural immersion. The archipelago’s main island, Madeira, boasts dramatic cliffs, picturesque villages, and verdant forests, while its smaller sibling, Porto Santo, entice visitors with its golden beaches and tranquil ambiance. Whether hiking along levadas (irrigation channels), exploring historic landmarks, or indulging in delectable cuisine, Madeira promises an unforgettable experience for every traveller.
Recognized as the Oscars of the travel industry, the World Travel Awards celebrate excellence across various sectors, from hospitality and tourism to aviation and technology. Madeira’s selection as the host for the Grand Final underscores its reputation as a premier destination. The event brings together leading figures and organisations from around the globe, offering a platform to showcase Madeira’s hospitality infrastructure, cultural richness, and commitment to sustainable tourism practices. As attendees immerse themselves in the archipelago’s charm, they contribute to its economy while fostering cross-cultural exchanges and collaborations.

Beyond its natural beauty, Madeira has emerged as a golfing paradise, attracting enthusiasts with its stunning courses and year-round favourable climate. The World Golf Awards recognise excellence in the golf tourism industry, celebrating destinations, resorts, and courses that elevate the sport. Madeira’s selection as the venue for the 11th World Golf Awards reflects its growing stature as a premier golfing destination. With courses designed to challenge players of all levels amidst breath-taking scenery, Madeira offers an unparalleled golfing experience that seamlessly blends sport with leisure.

Hosting the Grand Final of the World Travel Awards and the 11th World Golf Awards not only positions Madeira on the global tourism map but also generates substantial economic and promotional benefits. The influx of visitors, media coverage, and international recognition amplify Madeira’s appeal, attracting future travellers and investment opportunities. Moreover, the events serve as catalysts for innovation and sustainability within the local tourism industry, inspiring stakeholders to continuously enhance infrastructure, services, and experiences.


I caught up with Dr Eduardo Jesus - Regional Secretary of Tourism/ MPB President and put several questions to him to find out more on this emerging tourism destination.

1.  BTN: Clearly Portuguese visitors are your number one market with a strong following from Scandinavia, the UK and Germany, what plans have you to support these key markets in 2024?

Madeira Tourism: The Northern European countries remain important markets for the Madeira Destination and have been growing in recent years. To strengthen and consolidate this growth, in 2024, we intend to recover some operations and enhance air accessibility with these countries.

2. BTN covered recently the astonishing efforts to sustainability of three golfing venues embracing the tourist boards commitment to preserving the environment. What other plans are you looking at to increase the efforts from the tourism industry as whole regarding sustainability?

MT: Sustainability has been one of the focuses of the Madeira Destination. This special attention has been evident since 2021 with the certification process of Madeira as a Sustainable Tourism Destination, which involved not only the entire sector but the entire region from the outset. In February 2023, the Autonomous Region of Madeira received certification as a Sustainable Tourism Destination with the attainment of the Silver level seal by EarthCheck, entering the exclusive group of destinations certified by this world-leading entity in this domain.  At its core, this distinction has reinforced Madeira’s positioning as a tourist destination with a focus on sustainable development. However, this is an ongoing process, and we are working towards achieving the highest level of certification, the Gold seal, by 2027.

3. BTN: Sustainability is seen as a crucial development for the travel and tourism industry but comes at a price, if this means higher prices for tourists is this acceptable in light of the European markets economic difficulties, and is this something Madeira would consider?

MT: Tourists are increasingly seeking sustainable destinations where price is not the primary concern when choosing a trip. The increase in demand for the destination has been visible in recent years, reaching record levels in 2023 (10.9 million overnight stays and 2.3 million guests), and this naturally has led to an increase in prices, with the RevPAR reaching the highest average annual value ever recorded last year: 73.04 euros. The regional sector has been committed to ensuring the high-quality standards that have always distinguished us, especially regarding sustainability or other factors, and this is crucial for those who visit us. Price is directly related to this quality.

4. BTN: Dating back to the early 19th century, the islands famous Toboggan rides have become the basis of any tourists’ Madeira to-do list. What are the three other must see or do attractions that first time visitors to the island should undertake?

MT: Madeira has particularities that distinguish it from all other destinations: it is a small territory, but with a very diverse offer, meaning that in one day and in a short time and distance, visitors can go for a mountain hike, take a dip in the sea, or visit monuments and stroll in a more cosmopolitan environment. The combination of mountain, sea, and culture here is almost perfect.  Therefore, there is a diverse and complementary proposal throughout the year. But, specifically responding to your question, among many other experiences, we have walks along the levadas (irrigation channels) and trails, maritime tours for whale watching and diving, and a cultural offer enhanced by a heritage with 600 years of history.

5. BTN: This year sees Madeira host the prestigious World Travel Awards Grand Final on the 24th of November as well as the 11th World Golf Awards from the 21-22 of November. This will undoubtedly raise the profile of Madeira not just as a tourist destination but also as an emerging European golfing destination. What are you expecting first time visitors to take away from their trip to Madeira from both events?

MT: I would like to remind you that Madeira has already won the “World’s Leading Island Destination” award nine times, and with tonight’s gala, it has now received the “Europe’s Leading Island Destination” award ten times. Additionally, Porto Santo has been recognized as Europe’s Leading Beach Destination, and the Madeira Promotion Bureau as Europe’s Leading Tourist Board. Furthermore, in 2019, Madeira won the “Leading Emerging Golf Destination” award at the World Golf Awards.  The fact that Madeira will host both events of the World Travel Awards in November is an honour and a great satisfaction for everyone working in the tourism sector and also for those working for golf in the region. These two galas present unique opportunities to internationally promote the destination and, above all, to showcase first-hand what distinguishes us as a tourist destination and as a golf destination.
6. BTN: There is a growing number of wine and food tasting tours offered by a large number of specialist operators with a focus on Europe. With Madeira’s abundance of great seafood and incredible wines, is this an area, which you see growing across the Island?

MT: Madeira has always been present at major national and international events with the aim, among others, of promoting Madeira Wine, which has been known worldwide for centuries. In addition to its continuous presence in specialized media, the communication and promotion of Madeira Wine, both the traditional fortified wine and the table wine, whose production has been increasing in recent years, are also enhanced by press trips and fam trips supported by the Madeira Promotion Association throughout the year, maintaining a constant presence in them.

7. BTN: Madeira is an adventure playground with lush mountains, tropical nature, high cliffs and jagged peaks.” While the world is wising up to this, it’s still not quite on the mainstream radar, again, have you any plans to help promote this and grow the number of tourists who can savour this paradise of adventure?

MT: For over 200 years, Madeira has been on the radar of travellers, but continuous efforts are necessary on all fronts, both in the national and international markets. The aspect of nature and active tourism has gained increasing prominence, especially in recent decades, and there are numerous visitors who come to experience the many activities that take place in the mountains or at sea.  In fact, this segment has received special attention in our communication strategy, presenting Madeira as an adventure destination. The truth is that the region has a set of attributes that allow visitors to have a unique experience, 365 days a year, where the offering and experiences are diverse and accessible to all visitors. The Madeira Ocean & Trails brand, for example, was created to respond to this trend, seeking to promote all the strengths that Madeira presents as an active and adventure destination that increasingly aims to assert itself internationally.  In order to reinforce the brand’s positioning, the Madeira Promotion Association (AP-M) has been establishing partnerships with athletes from the region who already have some notoriety and participate in reference international events. On another level, we have been supporting the organization of more and more national and international sports events and competitions in disciplines such as trail running, swimming, orienteering, among others.

8. BTN: The Portuguese word madeira means wood, because forests coated the island when navigators first settled its shores in the 15th century. Safe, beautiful and with a balmy climate, this mountainous island is a joy to visit.
It must be a great place to live and work, can you sum up just what Madeira means to you and what visitors can expect when they arrive?

MT: The region is a year-round tourist destination, safe, easily accessible, distinguished by its unique natural beauty, the fusion of Sea, Mountain, and Culture, and its mild climate. It is a destination that stands out for its hospitality to tourists and visitors, offering activities for all ages, authentic experiences, and a commitment to economic, social, and environmental sustainability. Madeira aims to continue positioning itself as a destination where everyone feels they belong, a place for everyone, evoking unique feelings. Madeira is, therefore, a place of presence, something that the new brand reflects: Madeira. Belongs to All!

As Madeira basks in the aftermath of hosting these prestigious events, it sets its sights on a future characterized by growth, inclusivity, and resilience. By leveraging its natural assets, cultural heritage, and hospitality ethos, Madeira is poised to further elevate its status as a leading tourism destination. Through collaboration with industry partners, government agencies, and local communities, Madeira continues to chart a path towards sustainable development, ensuring that future generations can revel in its beauty and hospitality.

Madeira’s hosting of the Grand Final of the World Travel Awards and the 11th World Golf Awards epitomizes its ascent as a global tourism powerhouse. Beyond the accolades and celebrations, these events underscore Madeira’s enduring appeal, commitment to excellence, and capacity to captivate travellers from around the world. As it embarks on its next chapter, Madeira remains steadfast in its dedication to providing unforgettable experiences and fostering a legacy of sustainability, inclusivity, and innovation in tourism.

Images supplied by AP Madeira and The Madeira promotion Bureau