National Congress of the Portuguese Association of Travel and Tourism Agencies opens in Macao

Published on : Saturday, November 25, 2017

MGTOThe 43rd National Congress of the Portuguese Association of Travel and Tourism Agencies opened today (November 23) in Macao, in a ceremony presided by Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture of the Macao SAR Government, Alexis Tam. Co-organized by Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) and the Portuguese Association of Travel and Tourism Agencies (APAVT, from its Portuguese acronym), this year’s congress in Macao mobilized one of the highest attendance of the annual gathering of the most representative association of Portuguese tourism industry. Over the next few days, delegates will zoom-in on internal topics related to Portugal tourism industry, while looking to opportunities to tap into Macao and Mainland China market.

The opening ceremony of the 43rd National Congress of APAVT was held this morning at the Macau Tower Convention and Entertainment Centre, with speeches from the Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture of the Macao SAR Government, Alexis Tam, along with the Secretary of State for Tourism of Portugal, Ana Mendes Godinho, and APAVT President, Pedro Costa Ferreira.

Also present at the opening ceremony was the Consul General of Portugal in Macao and Hong Kong, Vítor Sereno, MGTO Director, Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, President of Portugal Tourism Board, Luís Araújo, Tourism Development Committee members, among other guests. Several Portuguese leading figures are also in Macao to speak at the working sessions of the congress, including former President of the Assembly of the Republic and past Foreign Affairs Minister of Portugal Jaime Gama, former Minister for Economy Augusto Mateus, administrator of TAP Air Portugal Diogo Lacerda Machado, president of the Portuguese Tourism Confederation Francisco Calheiros, among others.

Alexis Tam encourages Portuguese travel trade to seize the opportunities of multi-destination tourism in the region
At the opening ceremony, Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Alexis Tam remarked: “The National Congress of APAVT in Macao provides an excellent opportunity for us to continue to deepen our good relations, while boosting the offer of tourism packages and itineraries. With the opening of the Beijing-Lisbon direct flights, with a link to Macao, an historical step has been taken that should be taken advantage of.

“Macao is also participating in the Belt and Road Initiative, as well as the new development of a city cluster in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, which are both national-led development projects that are set to continue to bring more opportunities and open new horizons to Macao and our partners. The upcoming opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge will become yet another key element to boost tourism in the region, mainly in a context of multi-destination tourism that should also be taken advantage of,” he added.

APAVT President Pedro Costa Ferreira noted that “It is both a great honor and a great joy for APAVT to conduct its annual congress in Macao, for all that this city represents to Portugal and the tourism industry, while standing as a stellar example of the economical development of this region, which is set to have the greatest impact in the world over the decades to come.”

Macao provides platform for Portugal and China travel trade to meet
The programme of the congress this afternoon includes a China-Portugal Workshop in tourism and networking session. The workshop will bring together Portuguese travel agencies with representatives from around fifty travel agencies of more than twenty major cities in Mainland China, such as Beijing, Guangzhou, Xiamen, Haikou, and others. Macao travel agencies will also join the session, with the three parties exploring multi-destinations tourism business opportunities.

MGTO Director will welcome participating travel agents to the workshop, with Secretary of State for Tourism of Portugal and APAVT President also addressing the Mainland China, Macao and Portugal travel agents. Presentations about Portugal and Guangdong province tourism attractions will also be conducted, ahead of the networking session between the travel agencies, taking advantage of Macao’s role as a platform to boost tourism relations between China and Portuguese speaking countries.

Under the theme “Tourism: In the East, all new!”, this year’s edition of the congress, running from November 23 to 27, attracted around 650 Portuguese tourism professionals from a wide range of tourism activity, marking a record high in the recent history of the congress, according to the past records of APAVT.

The working sessions of the major Portuguese tourism debate forum will focus on the internal development of tourism industry in Portugal and relations with Macao and nearby regions, among other topics. The programme of the congress will also enable delegates to get a first-hand experience of Macao new tourism infrastructures, as well as to visit the Historic Centre of Macao, listed by UNESCO as world heritage, along with other attractions in Macao, Taipa and Coloane.

Established in 1950, APAVT is the most representative association of the Portuguese tourism industry. APAVT National Congress is organized in Macao for the fifth time, second after the establishment of the Macao SAR, with the past editions held in 1982, 1990, 1996 and 2008.

Macao and Portugal Governments signed last year a Protocol on Cooperation in Tourism to reinforce cooperation in different areas of tourism.

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