Travel News |Portugal Sets Bold Target: 1 Million Chinese Tourist Stays in Just Two Years!

June 17, 2024
By Carrie Li

Portugal Plans to Achieve 1 Million Overnight Stays by Chinese Tourists Within Two Years
Carlos Abade, the head of the Portuguese Tourism Board, revealed that although the number of Chinese visitors to Portugal in the first quarter of 2024 increased significantly by 135% year-on-year, reaching 57,740, this number is still below the pre-pandemic levels (only 70% increase). In the first quarter of 2019, more than 82,000 Chinese tourists visited Portugal. The Portuguese Tourism Board expects that by 2026, the annual number of Chinese visitors will reach 500,000, with overnight stays reaching 1 million. Meanwhile, Carlos Abade stated, “We hope to achieve a revenue of 246.4 million dollars (224 million euros) by the end of 2024, matching the levels of 2019. We believe this is achievable based on global growth forecasts for the Chinese market.”【Source: VisaGuide.World】

2024 Marks a Record Year for Saudi Arabia’s Tourism Industry
The World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) 2024 Economic Impact Research (EIR) shows that Saudi Arabia’s travel and tourism industry has reached historic highs this year, with contributions to GDP, industry employment, and tourist spending all setting new records. This industry surpasses all previous records, demonstrating the country’s commitment to becoming a global tourism hotspot.

In 2023, the industry grew by more than 32%, contributing a record 444.3 billion Saudi Riyals to the Saudi GDP, accounting for 11.5% of the economy. This was nearly 30% higher than the previous record, highlighting the industry’s critical new role in the national economic framework. The industry supported an increase of 436,000 jobs, reaching over 2.5 million, nearly one-fifth of the country’s employment. International tourist spending surged almost 57% to 227.4 billion Saudi Riyals, breaking the previous record of 93.6 billion Saudi Riyals, while domestic tourist spending grew 21.5% to 142.5 billion Saudi Riyals.

Saudi Arabia achieved its goal of 100 million visitors seven years ahead of schedule in 2023. The country is now moving towards an even higher goal, aiming to attract 150 million visitors by 2030. The tourism industry is expected to continue its rapid growth in 2024, with GDP contributions reaching 498 billion Saudi Riyals and job creation increasing by more than 158,000, reaching nearly 2.7 million. International tourist spending is expected to reach 256 billion Saudi Riyals, nearly double the previous high, while domestic tourist spending is expected to reach 155.2 billion Saudi Riyals.【Source: World Travel & Tourism Council】

Cuba Attracts Russian and Chinese Tourists to Revive Tourism Industry
According to official Cuban media, over 66,000 Russian tourists visited this Caribbean island nation in the first three months of 2024, double the number from the same period in 2023. However, Russian tourists are among the few bright spots in Cuba’s tourism industry. Cuba has recently started offering incentives to attract tourists from allies like Russia and China as the country struggles to revive its stagnant tourism industry post-pandemic. This means more flights from Russia and China to Cuba, sometimes even direct, and the lifting of visa requirements for Chinese tourists. Cuba has also decided to accept Russia’s Mir payment cards, making it one of the few countries to join Moscow’s Visa and Mastercard alternative payment card plan.

Paul Spadoni, an associate professor and Cuban tourism expert at Augusta University, stated, “It’s only a guess that Russian and Chinese tourists might relieve some of Cuba’s tourist pressures in the short term, but whether they can compensate for the loss of European and American tourists is doubtful. Cuba is unlikely to achieve its 2024 target of attracting 3.2 million tourists.” He estimates that this year, Cuba will receive between 2.6 million and 2.7 million tourists.【Source: WMBD】

Indians Choose International Travel to Escape the Heatwave as Outbound Numbers Soar
Due to the extreme heatwave, which has pushed temperatures in northern India to as high as 50 degrees Celsius, residents are seeking cooler climates, leading to a record increase in outbound travel. Data from Trevolution Group shows that the number of Indian tourists booking international flights reached an all-time high last month, with ticket sales up 64% year-on-year. Skift said sales in destinations like Italy, Greece, Portugal, and the United Kingdom grew by 59%. More relaxed domestic destinations like Manali, Kasol, and Shimla also experienced a surge in demand due to the heatwave, with bus ticket demand from Delhi increasing by 55%. In May, the number of tourists entering India dropped by 37% compared to April, indicating that foreign tourists are also cautious about extreme weather conditions.

Additionally, driven by the continuous growth of the middle class and increasing outbound travel spending, India is rapidly becoming an essential player in the global tourism industry. According to Livemint, India, Eastern Europe, and Southeast Asia are becoming major sources of outbound tourists, shifting the international tourism balance. According to the Oxford Economics Institute, India’s outbound tourism spending is expected to grow from $176 billion in 2023 to $319 billion in 2030, with a compound annual growth rate of 9%. India’s domestic tourism market is also proliferating, with domestic air passenger volume expected to double by 2030. As the middle class continues to grow and tourism spending increases, the size of India’s outbound tourism market is expected to grow to $44.8 billion by 2032.【Source: Travel News Digest & Livemint】

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