Tourism in Lisbon hampered by poor communication from the Government

in News · 23-07-2020 10:05:00 · 0 Comments

The president of the Lisbon tourism region criticises the “exacerbated” way in which the Government conducted the covid-19 communication in the area, which was “sacrificed” to save other regions, seriously damaging its reputation as a destination.

Speaking to Lusa, the president of the Regional Tourism Authority of the Lisbon Region and director general of Lisbon Tourism, Vítor Costa, said that the pandemic crisis had negative impacts on the region's reputation and image, with consequences for tourism and other activities, largely because of a “poor handling of the situation”.

Vítor Costa underlined that this “bad driving” was not intended, but “the way these issues were treated”, by “concentrating [the pandemic] in Lisbon and even having proposals for tourists to come to Portugal without coming to Lisbon”, Created an idea in the markets that “does not correspond to reality”, putting tourism in the region “in a very difficult situation”.

“There are responsibilities of the Government here, because it treated this situation badly in terms of a certain abandonment of Lisbon and even a certain sacrifice of Lisbon trying to save the rest” of the country, he said, stressing that he does not understand “why it takes so long, with so much contradiction and lack of information, so that the problem can be solved”.

"So there is an issue here that has been exacerbated and has led to this, let's say, very serious reputational loss," he added.

For the responsible, the great work that will have to be done in the near future will be “to rehabilitate this image” for the survival of the sector.

The "touristic Lisbon", he stressed, does not even have a significant number of cases of infection: "But it created an idea in the markets and we are focusing our efforts in trying to explain, within the constraints that we have, that this is not so”, he said, considering that “it is not more dangerous” to visit Lisbon than to go to Madrid, Amsterdam or another European city.

The official also stressed that the association is in solidarity with the necessary measures “so that the essential of the economic fabric can be sustained”, of support to companies, employment and social issues by the Government, so that “the end is not reached” this year with the economic fabric completely destroyed”.

Vítor Costa stressed that, despite the situation, there is hope for “the people who work and who bet, particularly on the tourism sector”, and said that he was convinced that “Lisbon remains very attractive and offers a unique proposal in the markets”.

In June, when air connections opened after the confinement, 134 weekly air connections were made and this month 545, numbers "still far from what was the existing situation, but which are a sign of hope", he stressed.

“For October, for example, 1,447 [weekly calls] are scheduled, that is, 11 times more than we had in June. But if we look at August, which is the month to follow, we expect 961 weekly calls, seven times more than we had in June”, he stressed.

In the months of confinement, the hotel occupancy rate was less than 10 percent and “most hotels remain closed, others postponed their opening from the moment this communication was addressed, when the problem was poorly managed”, he noticed.

The tourism region launched the “Foundi Lisboa” campaign, essentially aimed at the internal market, despite the notion that “the internal market is small and everyone is fighting for it”.

"On top of that, in our case, a third of residents in the national territory live in our region and are mainly potential tourists from other regions," he said.

The campaign is also being launched in Spain, the only market that can travel to Portugal other than by air.

The entity is also betting on relevant markets and where there are no restrictions, such as France, Spain, Germany and Italy, considering that “they can now give some impetus or some encouragement in the immediate” term, to tourism.


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