Portugal Recognized as World’s Leading Destination at 2017 World Travel Awards; First European Country to Win Title

New York, NY – December 11, 2017 Portugal has been voted the World’s Leading Destination, at the 24th World Travel Awards, the first time that a European country has won the distinction. Portugal was also recognized as the World’s Leading Tourist Board, and World’s Leading Tourism Authority Website (for visitportugal.com).

Amid a boom of new world-class hotels, eateries and venues Portugal emerged as one of the big winners at the grand finale of a gala event that bills itself as “the Oscars of the travel world.”

According to the travel professionals and consumers who cast votes throughout the year, Portugal was the standout destination of 2017, taking the title of world’s leading destination.  The Portuguese capital of Lisbon was named the world’s leading city vacation spot of the year.

The World Travel Awards ceremony was recently held at the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay hotel in Vietnam. The equivalent of best film – World Travel Awards – were handed out.

Winners of the World Travel Awards are based on a yearlong, online voting campaign. Votes from the public carry a weighting of one, while votes cast by travel professionals carry a weighting of two. Finalists for the grand finale are made of up winners from the regional awards and are recognized by the WTA.

According to Ana Mendes Godinho, Secretary of State for Tourism, “we are facing a unique moment for tourism in Portugal. This is the recognition of the work that has been developed over the years by all of those who are in some way connected with the tourism industry, but it is also the acknowledgment of the country that we have. An authentic, innovative, reinvented country that combines a wide variety of experiences and landscapes, a country that combines cosmopolitanism, history, tradition, sun, nature and gastronomy. A country that knows and enjoys welcoming everyone. We must now continue this work of showing all the diversity of what Portugal has to offer and which makes us a tourism destination of excellence.”

Luís Araújo, President of Turismo de Portugal, said that “this is the first time, after 10 years of Turismo de Portugal’s history, we have been recognized with global awards. These distinctions are only possible thanks to the efforts and dedication of a cohesive team, which professionalism, rigor and organizational ability prevail. It is with pride that we see our tourism strategy distinguished and gives us an increased motivation in pursuit of our goals until 2027, in order to affirm Portugal as a tourist destination of excellence.”

Portugal is a unique gem of Europe.  While the country has eight centuries of history with marvelous castles and architecture, it is also a must-visit place for foodies. Portugal has the biggest exclusive fishing zone in Europe, making seafood fresh and affordable. Local cuisine is vegetarian-friendly as well, offering hearty soups, stews and locally grown fruits and vegetables. Pop music lovers of all ages will enjoy local music festivals.

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Maralyn D. Hill, M.Ed.,  The Epicurean Explorer

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