Portugal honors its best in travel and tourism


PORTUGAL (eTN) – It was a marvelous summer-end evening in golden Alentejo, as hundreds of travel trade people drove from all over Portugal to attend the top national award recognition event, The PUBLITURIS Portugal Trade Awards 2011. A total of 17 awards were handed out with as many as 52 companies competing for them,

PUBLITURIS readers, who voted for the various categories, gave the leading airlines in the Portuguese market awards to TAP Airlines in the legacy carrier division and to easyJet in the low-cost carrier division.

The leading hotels awards went to five-star Ritz Four Seasons in Lisbon, four-star Porto Mare, three-star Grande Hotel do Porto (both in Oporto), whereas the leading resort hotel award went to the Penha Longa in Sintra and the leading hotel group award to Porto Bay Hotels & Resorts, a group with properties in Madeira, Algarve, Oporto and Brazil.

The 2011 leading golf course award went to Quinta do Lago Laranjal, in Algarve, and the leading regional destination went to Alentejo, which covers over 28 percent of Portugal’s continental area, and which has been the fastest growing holiday destination in the last four years.

The leading tour operator award went to Solférias, while the leading travel agency’s network and the leading incoming operator went both to Abreu, which has been in business since 1840 and has over 100 branches in Portugal and abroad. Meanwhile, the leading online travel agency award went to Netviagens, Lisbon.

Three individual awards ended the glamorous ceremony, staged with musical acts.
The Career Award, named after Belmiro Santos, Publituris editor for over 24 years, went to George Potamianos, president and founder of Classic International Cruises, operating since 1986 a fleet of classic cruise vessels, now numbering five, and which leading ship is the “Funchal”, presently under an overall lift in Lisbon, in order to comply with the Solas 2010 Convention for Safety at Sea, and to meet the new market demands.

The Funchal was built in 1961 in Denmark, and has been refitted three times. No wonder she is the fleet’s most popular cruising ambassador, calling frequently at ports in Australia, South and North America, Northern Europe and the Mediterranean. Mr. Potamianos acquired the ship in 1986 and kept its name, the Portuguese flag and Portuguese crew. The regional government of Madeira is also honored Mr. Potamianos on Sept. 27, International Tourism Day, with its gold medal for his achievements.

A Publituris posthumous award was handed to the sons of hotelier Fernando Marto (1958-2011) for his short-lived career as owner of hotels in Fatima and Lisbon.

And finally, the Publituris 2011 Tourism Personality Award went to António Ceia da Silva, president of Alentejo’s Regional Tourism Board. The panel invited by Ruben Obadia to vote for this award, decided to distinguish his dynamic strategy for overcoming the last difficult years, while achieving growing results, including in hotel capacity, bed-nights sales, and the increasing number of events staged in Alentejo’s hinterland,
in the greatest European water dam in Alqueva, and in the longest spread of sandy beaches bathed by the Atlantic.

This gala took place in Évora called Portugal’s White Museum City, a UNESCO World Heritage Status Site. The event attracted over 800 guests including government officials, and executives from the main hotel, operators, carriers, destination management incoming experts, and meetings and incentives organizers.