Tourism

Porto has become one of Europe’s must-visit cities and the star of Portugal’s tourism sector

Over the recent years, Porto has witnessed tremendous growth in prominence and visitor numbers, becoming one of the world’s Top 100 cities with most international visitors.

As a result, the tourism sector has played a major role in Porto’s economic upswing. The city offers a blend between its rich historical heritage and a vibrant, cosmopolitan feel, which makes it unique.


Remarkable Visitor Experience
The city’s unique setting and well-preserved heritage, its historic centre, the world-famous Port Wine and local gastronomy, as well as the offer of quality accommodation, leisure and cultural options are some of the reasons why Porto attracts growing numbers of tourists.
  • Porto won the prestigious title of "Best European Destination” in 2017, 2014 and 2012
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  • The city offers a surreal combination of medieval, baroque, 19-century and modern worlds: from Porto’s historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage site that scales the hilly banks of the river Douro, to various iconic buildings of Modern Architecture, such as Casa da Música or the Serralves Museum.
  • Porto is a major wine tourism destination thanks to its famous Port Wine Cellars, the Rabelo boats and the local wine culture, as well as an important destination for business events and business-related travel.

Sources: European Best Destinations

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One of the best-performing tourism markets in Europe
In 2018, Porto’s Greater Area welcomed 3.3 million tourists. The city is ongoing rapid tourism development, recording one of the best sector performances in Portugal and Europe.
  • Porto made the world’s Top 100 cities with the most international visitors for the first time in 2018, soaring 42 positions since 2013 according to Euromonitor’s Top 100 City Destinations 2018 and 2019 rankings.
  • Porto’s tourism sector registers the best performance in demand, supply and profitability growth in Portugal, according to a 2019 report by specialist consultancy firm Christie & Co.
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  • The Greater Porto Area represents a major share of the Portuguese tourism market. It hosts 13% of the 25 million tourists welcomed by Portugal in 2018. The region is also one the country’s top performing destinations, with a 57% growth in over-night stays since 2014.
  • Accommodation providers located in the city of Porto hosted 2 million guests in 2018, 77% of which international tourists, mostly from countries such as Spain, France, Brazil, Germany and the United Kingdom.
  • The revenue of hotel establishments in the city grew at an average rate of 22.6% per year between 2014 and 2018, reaching a combined revenue of 2.5 billion euros in 2018, due to growing demand and the rapid increase of ADR (average daily rate) and occupancy rates.
  • According to a 2019 survey by EY, over half of investors believe tourism will continue driving Porto's and Northern Portugal’s growth in the coming years.
  • External demand growth, improvements in air accessibility, the expansion of the supply of tourism services and the observed price increases have contributed to the sector’s excellent performance which led to higher levels of investment, entrepreneurial activity and urban regeneration.
  • Tourism development also drove up the performance of the local real estate market, which was recently considered by Forbes as one of the top 6 investment picks in Europe for 2020.

Sources: Instituto Nacional de Estatística, Euromonitor International, Christie & Co., EY, Forbes
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First-class International Airport and Cruise Ship Terminal
Porto International Airport and the new Porto Cruise Terminal are the two main entryways for international tourists visiting the city. Both infrastructures have won international awards for their quality and design and both have enough capacity to accommodate increased passenger flows.
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  • Porto International Airport is the fastest-growing airport in Portugal. Passenger numbers more than doubled over the last 6 years, reaching over 13 million in 2019. The airport is currently expanding its capacity to be able to serve 20 million passengers per year by 2020.
  • Porto Airport is highly connected hub, serving over 110 destinations in Europe, North America, Africa and the Middle East.
  • The airport has been distinguished multiple times by Airport Councils International’s Airport Service Quality Survey as one of Europe’s Best Mid-Sized Airports (5-15 million passengers per year).
  • The new Porto Cruise Terminal received 101 cruise ships and 117 thousand tourists in 2018. It has won multiple international prizes of architecture and design, including Building of the Year 2017 by ArchDaily International, and People's Choice 2016 by AZ Awards.

Sources: Instituto Nacional de Estatística; ANA Aeroportos de Portugal; Airports Council International; APDL
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Qualified talent pool for all types of tourism services
Porto offers access to talent from the large network of local schools specializing in Tourism and Hospitality education.
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  • There are multiple schools located in Porto and nearby cities offer training programmers sponsored by the national tourism authority (Turismo de Portugal I.P.), which specialize in hospitality, catering and tourism.
  • Porto also hosts several professional and higher education schools which offer courses in tourism sector skills.
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Available Funding and Incentives
Tourism projects in Porto can benefit from multiple tax incentives and financial support programs.
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  • Portugal 2020 programs provide financial support through grants, loans and guarantees to multiple types of projects, including tourism-sector investments, such as those involving urban rehabilitation works.
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