The latest report of the International Congress and Incentives Association (ICCA) says that in terms of number of MICE events, congresses and conventions organised, Portugal is the now seventh busiest country in the world, up from the 10th place that the country occupied in 2019.
The ICCA report also says that Portugal occupies the 6th position in the European ranking of countries, an improvement from the 7th in 2019.
The rankings go on to show that the Portuguese capital Lisbon in the 2nd busiest city in the world as well as in Europe for hosting MICE events. Another major city in Portugal, Porto, has also risen to the 14th place in Europe and 16th worldwide.
A press release says that as the years 2020 and 2021 were atypical for all segments of the tourism sector, and MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences & Exhibitions) was no exception, ICCA developed the Destination Performance Index (DPI) in order to recognise and reward the efforts of destinations with regard to: winning the original bid, Covid-19 policies, adaptability and technological capabilities to convert on-site events into virtual/hybrid events, thus maintaining business continuity. The IPR thus consists of specific performance indicators, which allow the measurement of the destinations’ results.
In order to project the country’s image and create attractiveness throughout the year and throughout the territory, attracting international congresses and events has been a strategic priority.
In total, since 2016 Portugal has hosted 347 new congresses, says the press release, adding that even during the pandemic, in 2020 and 2021, despite the significant disruption of travel and tourism, 30 international events and congresses were successfully held in Portugal.
And under the Portugal Events Programme, that aims to support the hosting of associative/corporate events in the country, 73 international/national congresses have already been finalised for Portugal since the tourism revival took place a few months back.
UN Ocean Conference, a big win for Portugal
Perhaps, as a vindication of the ICCA report and rankings, Portugal is all set to host another major global conference later this month when the United Nations’ Ocean Conference opens in Lisbon on June 27. The four-day meet that ends on July 1, aims to “Save the Ocean, Protect the Future” and is being co-organised by the UN and the Governments of Portugal and Kenya.
A number of special events would be held during the UN Ocean Conference. The events as well as the main conference call for the participation of States, civil society and partners from the business and associative sector, urging them to take an active role in achieving the goals of SDG 14 – Protect Marine Life – and to commit to the sustainability of marine resources.
‘‘At a critical and decisive moment for the planet, Portugal is committed to highlighting the nexus between the Climate and the Ocean. It is necessary to protect the ocean to guarantee the future. In this context, the Conference takes place at an ideal time to stimulate new habits and a sustainable blue economy, based on innovative solutions based on science, on more environmentally friendly technologies and on the sustainable use of marine resources, protecting biodiversity and reducing pollution,’’ says a press release.
Indeed, it is befitting that the UN Ocean Conference is being held in Portugal, which is 18 times more ocean than land, being the third country with the largest EEZ (exclusive economic zone) in the European Union, says the press release. ‘‘Portuguese history and culture are marked by a deep relationship with the sea, which has also determined the open, available and innovative character of its people. The oceans have also been a reason for establishing commercial and economic initiatives and defining strategic relationships with other nations,’’ it adds.
Little wonder then that the country which has over 2500 km between mainland and islands and is punctuated by a variety of natural conditions and an exceptional climate, which always provides unique and unforgettable experiences. ‘‘It is precisely because of these assets that Portugal is one of the water sports destinations, especially surfing, which is a worldwide reference and can be practiced all year round. The variety and quality of surf spots, with emphasis on the “Canhão da Nazaré” (Nazaré North Canyon), where the underwater geology allows the formation of giant and perfect waves, and the Ericeira Surf Reserve, ranked first in Europe by the Save the Waves Coalition, generate great moments for water sports lovers,’’ the press statement adds.