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Centennial Celebration Coming Up

Portugal has cherished tourism and tourists since 1911

Humberto Salvador Ferreira, eTN Ambassador  Aug 25, 2009

PORTUGAL (eTN) - It was in May 1911 that the Portuguese government created its first tourism department. For the past 92 years, tourism became a very important economic and cultural activity for its provincial seaboard and inland districts, plus the two autonomies - the Atlantic islands of Madeira and Azores.

A small European Union Member with a population of 10 million, every year Portugal receives over 18 million tourists, mainly British, Spanish, and Germans who do not spare their Amigo holidays in Portugal. In fact, tourism in Portugal is operated under the friendship banner. Hospitality is the strongest point of the Portuguese character.

And what do foreigners from all over the globe search for when they travel to Portugal? They look for all types of holidays or tours - sports, culture, business, or just to get away from the stress of everyday living.

Portugal offers some of Europe¬īs best golden sand beaches and water sports such as sailing, power-boating, windsurfing, surfing, body boarding, and kite surfing, and there are hundreds of beaches around the coasts and islands.

In Portugal, one can golf at some of the best courses in Europe, go horse riding and jumping at the breeding grounds of the Lusitano horse, visit the Roman Catholic Shrines and join thousands of worshippers at the celebrated summer festivities in Fatima, Viana do Castelo, Algarve, Lisbon - practically all over the country.

The Portuguese love football (soccer to Americans), and great football games can be enjoyed with the best European teams playing in frequent official cups.
For motoring enthusiasts, there is car and motor-bike racing during the Estoril-Sintra and Portim√£o-Algarve circuits, plus some of the most competitive rally grand-prix at incredible motor-tracks - a favorite for the old Dakar Euro-African Rally. Air festivals in Sintra and Algarve include the fabulous Red Bull Race along the Douro River in Oporto and Gaia - famous for the Port wine cellars. There are sports events for all, with plenty of international athletes competing.

For art and culture lovers, flower shows, regional food and wine festivals, handicraft and folk shows abound. There are popular rock and pop concerts with the greatest international stars, including the famous Rock-in-Rio in Lisbon, which occurs every two years. Portugal, one may say, is on a permanent party wave.

The program for the first centenary of tourism in Portugal will be something to brag about and not to missed and offers something for everyone.

Portugal has cherished tourism and tourists since 1911
Samba dancers at the Sesimbra Carnival / Image via

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