Portugal hopes to attract over 100,000 Chinese tourists in 2015

The number of Chinese tourists who visited Portugal in the first half of 2014 was up 69 percent on the same period of 2013 to about 55,000. They also spent more than twice as much, at 33 million euros (US$40.9 million), according to an official study quoted by Portuguese news agency Lusa.

Portugal wants the increase in visitors from China to continue. Portugal’s Secretary of State for Tourism, Adolfo Mesquita Nunes, attended the China International Travel Mart in Shanghai last week. The visit included the launch of a new marketing campaign for China, fronted by Portuguese football player Cristiano Ronaldo.

The latest surge in the number of Chinese tourists to Portugal follows four years in which the base number more than tripled, to 74,000 in 2013. Mr Mesquita Nunes said the growth could continue next year, passing the 100,000-mark for the full year 2015.

In Shanghai, Portugal’s Secretary of State for Tourism took part in the first Sino-Portuguese Joint Commission dedicated exclusively to the tourism sector. After the meeting, Mr Mesquita Nunes announced that China would for the first time attend the Lisbon International Tourism Fair in 2015.

“We have reasons to hope that the increase [in tourism] in 2015 will be faster than in 2014. That is what we are working for, so that the growth rate picks up speed,” Mr Mesquita Nunes told Lusa.

“Chinese [tourism] operators are interested in the Portuguese market and there is interest from the Chinese Government in establishing tourism relations with Portugal,” he added.