Algarve tourism chiefs have argued the region must diversify and build on its renowned beach holiday brand in order to benefit from the rapidly evolving global tourism market.
Joao Fernandes, Algarve Region Tourism Board president, said Algarve tourism unquestionably remains very strong.
However, it can drive greater recognition and wealth creation by improving and diversifying its offer.
The news comes ahead of the 2019 Algarve Tourism Conference on September 27th.
This year’s central theme is ‘health and wellness’ travel.
Worldwide ‘wellness tourism’ spend is rising rapidly and expected to surpass €900 billion by 2022, representing 18 per cent of the global tourism market.
Fernandes said: “For more than 40 years the Algarve has been the leading tourism destination in Portugal attracting the greatest number of tourists per night.
“The region accounts for more than four million of nearly 19 million guest nights registered annually.
“However, we are currently engaged in a long and continuous process of diversification, demystifying the preconception that the Algarve is only sun and beach - and consequently only a summer destination.
“None of these assumptions are true.
“Although it is true that our star product is, and will always remain, the sun and beach.
“However, what people have come to discover is that there is much more than beautiful beaches.”
He added: “We are working to drive greater appreciation of our authenticity and our genuineness.
“Elements such as the Mediterranean diet, or regional cultural production, levered by Algarve 365 program, have been authentic flags in our promotion.
“I have always submitted that the Algarve tourism sector would be as strong as our ability to plan and anticipate problems, as well as to speak in a focused manner.
“The formula proposed for this conference seems to me to be correct, as a way of strengthening the sector and training its agents.
“Judging by the mobilisation achieved from the previous edition, and response post event, the conference is well positioned to contribute towards and help inform the regional agenda.”
The full-day Algarve Tourism Conference programme involves more than 25 expert speakers with a key focus on growth and strategies for sustainable development within health, medical, wellness and senior tourism.
Stakeholders from across Portugal’s tourism sector are being encouraged to attend, most notably tourism and travel entrepreneurs and innovators, travel trade and destination management company professionals, resort, hotel and tourism development lodging managers and operators, real estate developers and investors, real estate managers and realtors.