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Portugal aims to welcome half a million Chinese tourists in 2026

As outbound tourism from China recovers, Portugal hopes to surpass pre-pandemic numbers within the next two years
  • The head of the Portuguese Tourism Board says it is also aiming for a million overnight stays by Chinese tourists

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PUBLISHED

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Less than 1 minute Minutes

UPDATED: 05 Jun 2024, 8:41 am

Carlos Abade, the head of the Portuguese Tourism Board, says the organisation aims to welcome 500,000 Chinese tourists in 2026. He was speaking to the Lusa news agency at the recent ITB China travel trade fair.

Abade added that Portugal also aims to reach a million overnight stays by Chinese tourists in the same time frame. “[We] think this is possible”, he said, given the growth forecasts for the Chinese market worldwide.

While Portugal netted a significant year-on-year increase in Chinese tourists in the first quarter of 2024 – up 135 percent to 57,740 – figures are still well short of pre-pandemic figures. More than 82,000 Chinese tourists visited Portugal in the first quarter of 2019, contributing to a high of nearly 400,000 Chinese visitors in the last year before the Covid pandemic struck.

[See more: Macao tourism chief hopes to restart direct Portugal flights]

The restrictions placed on Chinese citizens during Covid had a dramatic impact on the already reeling international tourism industry. For years, the world’s largest source of tourists was reduced to a trickle. 

Last year, China’s outbound tourism was still only 56 percent of pre-pandemic numbers and isn’t expected to recover fully until 2025, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit, hampered by greater price sensitivity and increasingly complicated visa processes.  

Outreach on Chinese social networks, like the tourism board’s launch of a mini-programme on WeChat, is one way officials hope to promote Portuguese gastronomy, tourist attractions and culture to Chinese audiences as the market recovers.

UPDATED: 05 Jun 2024, 8:41 am

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