Wednesday,  January 19, 2022  6:51 am

No reason to skip Portugal this winter

No reason to skip Portugal this winter
Portugal’s Secretary of State for Tourism Ana Mendes Godinho
Blake Wolfe

Blake Wolfe is an award-winning journalist and editor, who joined PAX after nearly 10 years in Canada’s newspaper industry. In addition to PAX, his work has been featured in publications such as the Metroland Media group of newspapers and the Toronto Sun.

As Canadian visits to Portugal increase year after year, there’s still room to grow in the market, according to Portugal’s Secretary of State for Tourism Ana Mendes Godinho.

The secretary joined Visit Portugal and 30 of its travel partners in welcoming travel agents to a midday information session, showcasing new developments and products in the destination under the theme of 'You Can't Skip Portugal.' According to Godhino, the time to sell Portugal to Canadians is now, with 38 direct flights from both Toronto and Montreal into the country by 2018, representing a doubling of air capacity since 2015.

“The Canadian market is growing at 25 per cent this year, which is quite impressive, but we think there’s still a lot of room to grow,” Godhino told PAX. “In 2016, we had 200,000 Canadian arrivals and there’s still space for more, mainly in winter…. It’s a huge opportunity for the market to take advantage of.”

That growth is leading Canadians to explore different regions of Portugal “beyond the traditional destinations of Lisbon, Porto and Algarve,” Godhino said, such as the Douro Valley and the Centro region and Alentejo in the country’s southeast. While the market is just starting to grow in Canada, Godinho said that more Canadian snowbirds are considering Portugal for their annual winter escape, particularly with the increase in airlift.

And with those ever-increasing travel numbers, Godinho added that 40 new hotels have opened across Portugal in 2017, with another 40 new properties set to welcome guests next year as well.

“Portugal has often been thought of as an old-fashioned country and although we’re still very authentic, people may be surprised to see how innovative and creative we are,” Godhino said, adding that the country has drawn a lot of start-up companies in recent years, bringing along a youthful vibe.

For travel agents, multiple FAM trips are on the horizon in the coming months, Godinho added; interested agents can contact William Delgado of Visit Portugal at

More about Portugal

  • Seeking sun? Portugal offers 320 sunny days per year.
  • While Hawaii or California may come to mind when thinking of renowned surfing destinations, Portugal offers more than 200 prime spots to hit the waves, along with plenty of surf schools for novices.
  • The Rota Vicentina offers more than 400 km of walking trails, allowing travellers to traverse Portugal from Lisbon to Algarve, all overlooking the Atlantic.