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 February 05, 2016
New Government Backing For Portuguese Congresses

 Portugal's business tourism sector is to receive a two-pronged Government-backed boost to its future development.

The 200 industry specialists attending the 4th APECATE Congress enjoyed a positive opening session when Secretary of State for Tourism, Ana Mendes Godinho, annouced the creation of a specialised team to capture congresses and events and Government plans for the introduction in 2017 of a new tax package for the tourism sector.

Almost 200 specialists from across Portugal's conference, incentive travel and outdoor events sector gathered in Ilhavo for two days of intensive conference sessions dedicated to examining a wide-ranging array of ways of "Capturing New Business".

The event, took place at the historic fishing town's recently-opened Montebelo Vista Alegre Hotel, tackled a provocative programme featuring international and nationally-recognised speakers.

Summaries of all sessions are to be placed on the Congress website --

Issues covered included:

- Conditions and demands involved in company internationalisation.
- The challenge of territorial planning when growth in tourist demand makes the task of achieving compatibility between visitors' and inhabitants' interests more complex.
- The new promotional tools and the capture of business in a fiercely competitive world dominated by the volatile interests of consumers who see proposals from business executives only to the extent the latter are able to capture their attention.
- The sector's financial resources -- different objectives set amid itsimbalances, problems and delays.
- Portugal's position in the world of Adventure Tourism and the importance of sustainable policies for the development of the sector.
- And finally, the vexed matter of taxation as it impacts tourism, explained in a session which proved too short given the many doubts raised by delegates.

Luisa Ahrens Teixeira, President of APECATE, former President of EFAPCO, and CEO with the Congress organisers, Mundiconvenius, said: "After two days of intense business activity, most participants spent the following morning exploring the delights of the Vista Alegre area surrounding the congress hall and meeting rooms at the stylish MontebeloIlhavo Hotel. A specially-devised discovery programme took everyone round the historic houses, shops, a chapel, a ceramics atelier, the ancestral grove, even the washing facilities at a local day care centre."

According to APECATE's organizing team the event was well-received, and proved a winning bet for the region, as had been promised by the president of ERT, Pedro Machado, an enthusiastic supporter of holding the Congress away from the capital region of Lisbon.

Added Luisa Teixeira: "For certain, everyone left with images of the Montebelo Vista Alegre Ílhavo Hotel as a miracle of restoration and heritage engraved on their minds; the homage to Vista Alegre's artistic creation was seen in its decoration, the comfort of the rooms, the excellent gastronomy, the surprise of arriving in Ílhavo to discover that it is a paradise on the river.

"Andat the Maritime Museum, where the group was invited to dine with the Mayor, there was the unforgettable sight of live codfish swimming to the water's surface to greet passers-by and the overall simplicity of the museum area, was all well worth the visit."

The social programme also included dinner at the Montebelo Vista Alegre Hotel (sponsored by ERT Central Portugal) and dinner, offered by the Ílhavo Municipal Council, at the Ílhavo Naval Museum.
The Ilhavo area also features Portugal's tallest lighthouse, the spectacularly colour-striped houses along the beachfront at Praia da Costa Nova, a lively fish market and an illustrious porcelain factory.