It is expected that 2023 will be the best ever for tourism in the North region. For the success of the sector, air connections are fundamental, and there are complaints to TAP that it has played an “irrelevant” role in increasing connections to Sá Carneiro.
This will be the year in which tourism is expected to break all records, with the North continuing to be decisive for the success of the sector. The growth, in the order of 15%, which has been observed since the beginning of the year, anticipates an unprecedented number of guests and overnight stays.
The preview is by the president of Turismo do Porto e Norte (TPN), Luís Pedro Martins, who participated yesterday, in Braga, in the round table on 'Paths for the sustainability of Tourism', an initiative of the Business Association of Braga (AEB) that took place in the Aula Magna of the Faculty of Philosophy.
The official stressed that Braga has been registering “quite interesting growth”, with more than 620 thousand overnight stays registered in 2022. And if it has not yet been possible to achieve the objectives of increasing the average stay and combating seasonality, to succeed in distributing tourists across the region” and proof of this is the fact that Braga already has more international tourists (51%) than national ones. “It just happened”, highlighted Luís Pedro Nunes.
Air connections are decisive for the growth of tourism, with Luís Pedro Nunes making it clear that “in the European market, TAP is totally irrelevant in the context of Tourism in Porto and the North”, announcing that in 2023 Sá Carneiro Airport will have flights from 90 destinations, most of them “absolute firsts” in the region.
He referred that many of these new air connections are the result of TPN's efforts, which "set foot on the path" and the result is beginning to be in sight. As an example, he contributed the two weekly flights that since March 13 arrive from Israel to Porto, with the prospect of doubling to four flights a week. “It is a new market, with high purchasing power and that wants to spread throughout the territory, as it does not look for the city, but for the experiences, the gastronomy, the wines, the Jewish heritage, the nature...”.
Where TAP “could be relevant was in long distance”, pointed out the president of TPN, revealing that also on long-haul flights this entity is working to get more air connections to the North.
“We are in an advanced stage of dialogue with Azul and one of these days we may have a direct connection between São Paulo and Porto. Our ambition is even greater”, he said, pointing to a direct connection to Porto Alegre. “There is a Brazil that has been forgotten by Portugal and with great potential, which is the South of Brazil, where there are large and important cities such as Curitiba, Santa Catarina, Gramado”, said Luís Pedro Nunes, revealing that TPN has already started to promote up in these destinations.
António Barroso, representing the Municipality of Braga, also defended the importance of “having good air connections”, especially at Sá Carneiro Airport. “We have to fight for good air connections, especially so that the North Airport is well served”, he stressed.