Destination Innovation and Trends in a New Era

By 31 March 2021May 3rd, 2021Innovation

Destination Innovation and Trends in a New Era

Find out more
By Julie King

Interview with Luís Araújo

In this final blog, Luís Araújo, President of Turismo de Portugal, updates on innovation that has taken place in Portugal and their focus on sustainability. We also discuss global trends and conclude with Luís’s advice, from Portugal’s experience to destinations preparing for opening.

We touched briefly on innovation earlier, and your role with the Innovation Centre. Are there any other areas within the industry that you have observed as a result of the pandemic?

Well, I think the concern about health. It’s mind-blowing the obsession with hygiene and cleaning and protecting people. We always say that we are an industry that cares about the other and we don’t just care we take care. I think that will stay for long after the vaccine or the treatment as we have now embedded this in ourselves, and our companies because that’s what the tourists need now and for the future. 

The most impressive thing is the concern about the environment in the tourism industry. We have very clear goals in the strategy we launched three years ago, from 2017 until 2027. We want 90% of our hotels, travel agents, tour operators and our companies to have efficiency measures in waste management, water and energy. 

We are roughly at 60%, so we still have a lot of work to do until 2027 and people are very focused on it. We also launched the sustainability plan on Monday for the next three years, and we’ve been changing some legislation internally so that it’s easier for them to adjust. And of course, there is financial support and training. Sustainability is one of the challenges, and we see big movements there. 

“Our biggest concern now is about connectivity, and what will happen to airline companies. In terms of collaboration and trying to be of help, we are focused on understanding the problems and trying to address those problems internally and even if it is nothing to do with us. That’s quite a big challenge for the future, and I think we should all focus on this problem.”

I believe the video that you’ve produced on sustainability and the plan is available on LinkedIn and on the Visit Portugal site for anyone who wishes to look at that. It’s very well done and again with your transparency around what you’re doing and your plans for the next few years. 

Once again, it’s about collaboration. It’s not a closed programme, it’s open for discussion until January. We have more than seventy initiatives or programmes as I mentioned, changing the regulation or financing. But it’s open for comment, and we ask people to say if they believe there’s something missing or there is something we are not considering and we will try to address that. Again, I believe collaboration is key for the future.

Another trend we’re seeing is a shift from global to local and then local to global, to be local. This is very much about wanting a cultural experience, more authenticity and connecting with communities. You’ve done a little bit of that around explaining Portugal through books. Is that a trend that you’re looking at in the future and how to create more authentic products? 

There is also a huge shift towards conscious consumption. In terms of what people will purchase from a travel perspective moving forward, the experiences, and that they want to feel they are doing the right thing in terms of those experiences. 

Are these also trends that you’re monitoring?

I agree with you. And they are here to stay. It’s something that I think every destination was working on already because demand was asking for that authenticity. And the immersion into a country is something which is very important for any of us as a tourist. 

Over recent years, we have been building on top of what we call cooperative networks. We were not promoting a destination or products; we were promoting parts of our history, or things that touch the whole country over the entire year. 

But most importantly, we want what brings some added value to the country. That’s why last year we started with the literature and promoting Portugal through books. That’s why we had the campaigns this year because we have many Portuguese authors who are very well known in many of the countries that come to Portugal. 

We have more than sixty Portuguese writer’s houses which are museums, beautiful places. We have many book fairs and open libraries and national libraries that you have to visit when you come to Portugal, so this was already a product, it’s only a matter of structuring and developing it. We even have hotels which are dedicated to books. 

When you have all these pieces, you just have to put them together and sell them. We have started other cooperative networks; for instance, we also started with the wine tours two years ago. And Portuguese wines are of excellent quality with a lot of variety. Just to give you an idea, Portugal has more than two hundred and fifty kinds of grapes, which is much more than Spain or France, or any other country. 

As we have such a variety of grapes, you can imagine the landscape, the quality of wines, the wineries built, many of them by the best architects in Portugal. So yes it’s going back to local,  but it’s a different local. I wouldn’t say it’s an Instagram-able local, but it’s a local that you can appreciate because of its authenticity. I think that the future will surely be like that.

From your early experience of reopening Portugal, and now going through a second wave, what is your advice to countries and businesses that have not yet opened for international tourism but are planning to open when it’s safe to do so. 

Well, that’s a very tricky question. Remember when you go on an aeroplane, the hostess says you have to put your mask on yourself and then help the others. This is the moment we’re in right now; we have to take care of our teams, the people who live in our country. That’s the only way we will be prepared for the visitors and the tourists who will come in the future and who are coming already. 

Many people are still coming to Portugal and Europe. But you can never put down your arms in the mission of taking care of your own because that’s the only way you can take care of others. Sometimes you feel like you want to hibernate and just wake up in March 2021. But that’s not possible. 

And, at least on our side, we have 400,000 . To put it in perspective, we went back ten years in terms of revenues from tourism in Portugal. And thirty years in terms of guests. Ten years ago, we had ten times fewer companies working for tourism than we have now. Our biggest concerns is how to enable those businesses to thrive in the future.

Well, let’s hope we’re all able to travel safely soon and come back and visit your wonderful country.

“As an industry we weren’t solving the problems that really mattered. We were disconnected from each other and not leading the way.”

Julie King
Join our Community
Bonailie

About Bonailie

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
  • Weekly webinars on growth and sustainability
  • Access Bob Earth webinars
  • Learn from Bonailie thought leaders
  • Access Bonailie research and insights
  • Access Innovation House
  • Connect with Bonailie global tourism community
  • Learn from other industries via BoB Earth
  • Audit business brand and path to growth
  • Tools to transform your business
  • Access to the BoB Earth annual summit
  • Access to global travel media – Coming soon
  • Each subscription provides donation to L&D foundation
  • Weekly webinars on growth and sustainability
  • Access Bob Earth webinars
  • Learn from Bonailie thought leaders
  • Access Bonailie research and insights
  • Access Innovation House
  • Connect with Bonailie global tourism community
  • Learn from other industries via BoB Earth
  • Tools to transform your business
  • Access to the BoB Earth annual summit
  • Access to global travel media – Coming soon
  • Each subscription provides donation to L&D foundation

Plus

  • Find Your Formula (4 modules (live facilitated)
  • Business DNA (live facilitated)
  • Personal DNA (live facilitated)
  • L&D Program (live facilitated)

Additional

  • Access to Travel & Tourism Summit (2022)
  • Annual Trends E Book
  • Weekly webinars on growth and sustainability
  • Access Bob Earth webinars
  • Learn from Bonailie thought leaders
  • Access Bonailie research and insights
  • Access Innovation House
  • Connect with Bonailie global tourism community
  • Learn from other industries via BoB Earth
  • Tools to transform your business
  • Access to the BoB Earth annual summit
  • Access to global travel media – Coming soon
  • Each subscription provides donation to L&D foundation

Plus

  • Find Your Formula (4 modules (facilitated)
  • Business DNA (online)
  • Personal DNA (Online)
  • L&D Program (Online)

Additional

  • Access to Travel & Tourism Summit (2022)
  • Annual Trends E Book

In addition to the Find Your Formula, Audit Your Business For Growth (4 modules) you will have access to the Business DNA and Personal DNA curriculums, you will also join the flagship L&D Program that has been designed specifically to support business owners navigate the global pandemic of 2020/21 to drive them into growth.

These are live facilitated programs so that your business is ready to fully optimise the trends that tell us that there will be a 10-year period of fast growth in the economy from 2022 onwards. The program is designed to be intensive and collaborative.

  • Weekly webinars on growth and sustainability
  • Access Bob Earth webinars
  • Learn from Bonailie thought leaders
  • Access Bonailie research and insights
  • Access Innovation House
  • Connect with Bonailie global tourism community
  • Learn from other industries via BoB Earth
  • Tools to transform your business
  • Access to the BoB Earth annual summit
  • Access to global travel media – Coming soon
  • Each subscription provides donation to L&D foundation

Plus

  • Find Your Formula (4 modules - live facilitated)
  • Business DNA (live facilitated)
  • Personal DNA (live facilitated)
  • L&D Program (live facilitated)

Additional

  • Access to Travel & Tourism Summit (2022)
  • Annual Trends E Book

Find Your Formula is an Audit that covers four key areas of your business: your Brand, Products, Channels, and your Sales Systems.  By the end of the module, you will have an overview of the current state of your business and the numbers that make up your current business model. You will have Audited your business and will have a view on where the gaps are in the business and where things need to change to a 21st Century Business Model

As part of this one-month extensive programme you will have access to a Bonailie and BoB Earth 12 month subscription.

  • Weekly webinars on growth and sustainability
  • Access Bob Earth webinars
  • Learn from Bonailie thought leaders
  • Access Bonailie research and insights
  • Access Innovation House
  • Connect with Bonailie global tourism community
  • Learn from other industries via BoB Earth
  • Audit business brand and path to growth
  • Tools to transform your business
  • Access to the BoB Earth annual summit
  • Access to global travel media – Coming soon
  • Each subscription provides donation to L&D foundation

In addition to the Find Your Formula, Audit Your Business For Growth (4 modules) you will have access to the Business DNA and Personal DNA curriculums, you will also join the flagship L&D Program that has been designed specifically to support business owners navigate the global pandemic of 2020/21 to drive them into growth.

This is a self-guided programme where we will provide support in the form of accountability groups, so that your business is ready to fully optimise the trends that tell us that there will be a 10-year period of fast growth in the economy from 2022 onwards. The program is designed to be intensive and collaborative.

  • Weekly webinars on growth and sustainability
  • Access Bob Earth webinars
  • Learn from Bonailie thought leaders
  • Access Bonailie research and insights
  • Access Innovation House
  • Connect with Bonailie global tourism community
  • Learn from other industries via BoB Earth
  • Tools to transform your business
  • Access to the BoB Earth annual summit
  • Access to global travel media – Coming soon
  • Each subscription provides donation to L&D foundation

Plus

  • Find Your Formula (4 modules - live facilitated)
  • Business DNA (online)
  • Personal DNA (Online)
  • L&D Program (Online)

Additional

  • Access to Travel & Tourism Summit (2022)
  • Annual Trends E Book