Invictus Cruises, a nautical tourism company created during the pandemic, is the representative in Portugal of the Italian brand Invictus Yacht and has just invested €1.5 million in a unique boat in the country, to sail in the Douro.

The vessel has the capacity to carry 12 passengers and two crew members and offers tourist packages tailored to customers.

The fact that Portugal is geographically positioned at the “tail of Europe” is a “very good thing”, because we are “as far away as possible from all the conflicts that have arisen and the setbacks of the last two years”, observed Patrícia Carvalho, business manager at Invictus Cruises.

Safe destination

“Portugal is seen as a safe destination, increasingly better prepared to receive post-pandemic customers and, therefore, we are capitalising on the growth potential that has been verified”, she said.

Patrícia Carvalho justifies that the market for nautical tourism is stronger with the “appearance of hotel infrastructures and quality projects” in Porto and Douro.

More infrastructure

Exclusive tourism, with recent models of boats, which offer tourist programs tailored to customers, are characteristics of nautical tourism in Porto and Douro, however, Alexandre Soares, Ondastar's business manager, warns of the need to create "more marinas ”, “new quays and mooring places”, “supply points”, employ more “skilled labour” and “new structures”.

“Mainland Portugal has a very difficult Atlantic coast, so you have to bet on the Douro, in its beauty, in the sheltered waters. For that, we need more infrastructure”, declared Alexandre Soares, defending that the greater Porto area “certainly” needed another marina with the dimension of Douro Marina, in Vila Nova de Gaia.

With a new marina, we would be talking about “more 300 boats”, “more jobs to be created” and “more companies to be able to live not only from the maintenance and sale of boats, but also from tourism”, he said.

Premium boat brands

Ondastar's manager believes that the Douro River will be “an incubator for premium boat brands”, no longer having to go to the Algarve or Lisbon to buy luxury boats.

The main markets in Porto and the North of Portugal looking for experiences in the nautical tourism sector are the North Americans, but also the Canadian and English market and some European markets, such as the German and Dutch market, says Patrícia Carvalho.

The internal market is also “very important” for nautical tourism in the North, namely the business market, which seeks to hold “working lunches” and 'team building' activities.