Yesterday, AEB and Universidade Católica promoted the first 'Business Fam Trips', an initiative aimed at tour operators with the aim of publicizing assets that help boost tourism.
'Commerce with history' was the motto for the first of three 'Braga Business Fam Trips' that the Braga Business Association (AEB), in collaboration with the Portuguese Catholic University - Braga and the Braga City Council, is promoting with the aim of familiarizing tour operators with some of the main assets that Braga has to offer.
Largo de São João do Souto was the meeting point for tourist agents, professionals and tourism students to begin a visit that took them on a tour of four of the 44 'Shops with History' in the city of Braga.
With a turnout that exceeded the promoters' expectations, this 'Braga Business Fam Trips' took in the São João Market, A Negrita, Pereira das Violas and Paramentaria Vasconcelos.
"We're kicking off these 'Braga Business Fam Trips' with three visits already scheduled. We're starting here with 'Commerce with history', but in due course we'll also be visiting some leading companies in the industrial sector and also in the wine sector," said Rui Marques, AEB's general manager, who welcomed the participants to the initiative that took place yesterday afternoon. Rui Marques stressed that the aim of this action "is to bring economic agents closer to tour operators so that the tourist offer can incorporate into its proposals what the city has to offer, which is much more than squares, churches and museums".
This initiative aims to increase knowledge about what the city has to offer, to foster a sense of pride in the city to be "shown" to visitors and also to promote the exchange of experiences and networking through partnerships.
Speaking to Correio do Minho, Rui Marques also stressed that more than attracting more tourists, "we are interested in everything that can maximize the value that we can retain from tourism". In order to promote a destination or a tourist experience "you have to get to know it" and that's what this initiative aims to do: "be a familiarization trip for agents to get to know better what exists and what can be leveraged as a tourist asset".
Rui Marques also stressed that tourism "makes sense if it helps the region to generate income, employment and progress" and this initiative is another contribution to making that happen. Varico Pereira, representing the Braga Regional Center of the Portuguese Catholic University - Braga, stressed that students from the Tourism study cycle (bachelor's and master's degrees) are contributing to this initiative, which is intended to be "an important boost" to promote a comprehensive vision of Braga as a city "that doesn't just have monuments, squares and museums, but also other important assets, such as these 'Shops with History', which are essential for providing tourists with different experiences, as this is what they are increasingly looking for".
Joana Teixeira, who runs a tourist entertainment company and is also a member of the Minho de Porta Aberta cooperative, took part in yesterday's initiative, praising the AEB for providing tourist agents with these experiences and opportunities to learn more about these places with history. She also pointed out that participation is also worthwhile for the humanistic experience it provides, as these events bring you into contact with other partners and promote networking.
With regard to commerce with history, Joana Teixeira argues that it is an asset that can and should be valued, because "nowadays, more and more tourists don't just want to buy souvenirs and when they do they want something produced locally. Tourists want to get to know the community, what is most genuine about it and enjoy local experiences".