"The year 2020 will be marked by a commitment that the minimum wage on board any of our ships [in Portugal] will always be more than €1,000, plus the tips they receive from clients, accommodation, food and uniforms," Mário Ferreira told Lusa.

Currently, he said, the lowest salaries among the about 500 Douro Azul workers in Portugal are around €730.

After the Douro Azul group recorded a consolidated turnover of €152 million in 2019, Mário Ferreira pointed to an increase in sales of more than 30% to €202 million and an increase in EBITDA (earnings before taxes, interest, depreciation and amortization) from €18 million to €37 million.

The weight of activity in Portugal in the consolidated business is expected to fall from around 30% last year to "around 25%" in 2020.

"The investment we are making in terms of cruises is at a global level", the businessman told Lusa.

According to Mário Ferreira, as part of the ongoing recruitment initiative, Douro Azul will hold from Wednesday to Friday a 'roadshow' (presentation) in the Douro region, in the municipalities of Lamego (8th), Peso da Régua (9th), Mesão Frio (9th) and Alijó (10th), and from January 16th to 18th, will open the doors of one of its hotel ships in an 'open day' to "let the candidates know the reality of the day-to-day work on board".

The new workers to be recruited should preferably have training in the areas of tourism, hotel and catering, having the possibility, during the cruise season in the Douro (in the winter period), to work on the ships that the company has abroad.

This year's edition of the 'open day' of recruitment of DouroAzul - subject to a limited number of registrations, to be formalized until the 12th in the company's recruitment platform available at https://openday.douroazul.pt - has a day totally dedicated to students in the tourism, restaurant and hotel sector, on January 16th.

With a fleet of 12 hotel ships, DouroAzul claims the leadership in the river cruise business in Portugal, having been elected in 2019, for the fifth time, as the "Leading Company in River Cruises in Europe in the World Travel Awards".