Portugal’s Tourism Minister In Israel to Emulate Smart City’s Technology

Portugal, part of the United Nation’s tourism body currently in Israel, is interested not only in emulating Tel Aviv’s technology, but also in attracting Israeli tourists.



Portugal is looking to pick up some tricks of the trade in the field of smart cities, according to Portuguese Secretary of State for Tourism Adolfo Mesquita Nunes.

THE TEL AVIV skyline; the area around the city is home to many Israeli start-ups

The TEL AVIV skyline; the area around the city is home to many Israeli start-ups. – Photo: REUTERS

“We made a huge transformation on our promotion model. We gave up traditional and offline and are almost 100% in the digital marketing, se we’re a case study for that,” said Nunes, who is in Israel for the UNWTO (the United Nation’s tourism body) Commission For Europe Annual Conference in Haifa.

In the next six years, Portugal will be investing in smart destination features that appeal to “the mobile generation and the sharing economy, and we need to be ready for the tourists who want to be connected 24/7.”

“You are the start-up nation and Tel Aviv is good on the smart destination,” he adds. Tel Aviv, for example, has installed a free wi-fi network in areas tourists frequent in the city, and created apps that cater to target audiences, such as gay tourists.

In Nunes view, the future of tourism will involve big data metrics that will ensure countries correctly anticipate where their tourists visit, on what they spend money and where they take pictures to share with their friends on social media.

In the meantime, he’s interested not only in emulating Israel’s model or its technology, but also in appealing to Israeli tourists, who have been traveling to Portugal in increasing numbers.

Israeli tourism to Portugal has grown 25-30% in the last few years, almost three times the general increase in tourism to Portugal, perhaps with renewed interest since Portugal approved a law to repatriate descendants of expelled Jews.

Since it took Force in February, 100 Jews have been certified for citizenship.

Perhaps Israel has some things to learn from Portugal as well; the World Economic Forum rated it 15th in its recent Global Travel and Tourism Report. Israel came in a miserable 72nd, (due in part to its high prices).

The UNWFO meeting, which has returned to Israel after 19 years, also included a delegation of ministers from Romania, Macedonia, Serbia, Lithuania and Belarus.


View original The Jerusalem Post publication at: http://www.jpost.com/Business-and-Innovation/Tech/Portugals-Tourism-Minister-looks-to-follow-Israels-smart-city-lead-402741