Is Portugal Doing a Good Job of Promoting Itself?

Is Portugal Doing a Good Job of Promoting Itself?

I spent a week in Portugal in late March 2012. After booking my flights in early January, I tweeted about my forthcoming visit. I received a message from @VisitPortugal saying “we welcome you with open arms” and that was it. It was an individual, Mary Goudie of Your Lisbon Guide, who contacted me initially through Twitter, asking about my forthcoming trip and offering to find me complimentary accommodation, arrange restaurant reviews and show me around the area.

Is Portugal Doing a Good Job of Promoting Itself?

Convento de Cristo, Tomar, Portugal

Mary arranged for me to stay at the Janelas Verdes Hotel for three nights, set up four restaurant review meals, gave me a Lisbon tour including Queluz Palace and took me on a day trip to Tomar and Fatima.

Is Portugal Doing a Good Job of Promoting Itself?

Interior of Church of the Holy Trinity, Fatima, Portugal

It was a similar story in Faro in the Algarve, Gwen McCauley of Algarve Experiences took me on a day trip around the area.

I went into the Faro tourist information office to ask if there was any sort of press pass for travel writers to get complimentary entry to attractions and there was no provision for this.

Is Portugal Doing a Good Job of Promoting Itself?

Sunset at Faro Marina

I have almost 300 photos of my trip to Portugal on Flickr and have also pinned quite a few photos on Pinterest boards.  I’ve been tweeting these photos with #Portugal #Lisbon #Lisbontrip #Farotrip hashtags, with virtually no RTs from Visit Portugal. I’m not claiming all my photos are fantastic, nor do I think that the online travel world revolves around me and everyone should follow my every move/tweet, but it strikes me that Visit Portugal could have capitalised more on my trip.

I had a look at the Visit Portugal website. They’re part of the Ministry of Economy and Innovation, with a remit for the “promotion, development and sustainability of tourism activity.” One of their specific goals is “to coordinate the promotion of Portugal as a tourist destination, both at home and abroad”.

On a similar note, I went into the Hotel Eva in Faro to ask if I could see some of their rooms and take photos and videos. I arranged to return a couple of days later between 10-11am. I left my business card with the receptionist, who told me he would inform the manager. I returned at the appointed time and was told it wasn’t possible to see the rooms. I would have uploaded these photos and videos of Hotel Eva to Flickr, Pinterest and YouTube and written about the hotel.

Is Portugal working hard to promote itself as travel and holiday destination? It doesn’t seem like it to me.

Update 27 April 2012

Visit Portugal gave me a K+ on Travel & Tourism yesterday and a #FollowFriday on Twitter today. I wonder if this is in response to this post (I did ask them to comment on the post on Twitter and had no response), or just a coincidence?

Is Portugal Doing a Good Job of Promoting Itself?

5 thoughts on “Is Portugal Doing a Good Job of Promoting Itself?

  1. Sonja

    Very interesting. I’m just a small-time blogger compared to you and I was planning on poking around for some press freebies when we’re in Portugal this summer! Looks like a no-go for me.

  2. Mike

    Hi Karen,

    Portugal does its best to promote itself, only, new media has to grow for promotion.
    Since a while, Portugal does it best to promote itself via social media. We have a lot of offline promotion things going on and till now, it helped us very much as tourism increased till the highest number over the year 2011.

    We hope that your experience doesn’t effect your choice wether to come back or not :)

  3. KT

    From our experience, they are very helpful but with the severe austerity measures that we keep hearing about, they are probably a little hard-pressed drumming up promotional activity at the moment perhaps without extra resources. To their credit, we often approach them via email and telephone and find them very helpful.

  4. Karen Bryan

    Mike – Yes offline promotional activities are also important. However I diagree that Visit Portugal are doing its best to promote itself online. I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Portugal, a lot of credit for that has to go to Mary Goudie, a private individual.

    KT – Well it wouldn’t have cost Visit Portugal anything to RT some of my photos. Mary Goudie didn’t spend any money arranging my accommodation and restaurant reviews, it was about getting in touch with contacts and you’d think that Visit Portugal would have a lot more contacts than a private individual.

Comments are closed.