The Alentejo, the Centre of Portugal and the Spanish region of Extremadura, which make up the ‘Euroace’ Euro Region construct, are joining forces to present a workshop at the ‘2018 EU – China Tourism Year’ conference and exhibition taking place on November 2nd and 3rd, in London.

The participation of the three regions was one of the initiatives agreed during a meeting that took place on September 6th in Estremoz, aimed at “designing a convergent strategy for the three regions,” which in the first half of 2017 have seen a significant growth in overseas tourism.

The strategy is to attract long-haul tourists and is counting on the Chinese to lead a predicted surge.

To drum up the necessary finance, a special project will be drawn up under the European Community’s snappily named ‘Interreg A – Spain-Portugal (POCTEP) – 2014-2020 – Cross-border Cooperation’ programme.

The Estremoz meeting was attended by the President of the Alentejo Tourism Promotion Agency, Vítor Silva, the President of the Regional Entity of Tourism for the Alentejo, António Ceia da Silva, the Director General of Tourism of Extremadura, Francisco Martins, the Vice President the Regional Tourism Entity and the Tourism Promotion Agency of the Centre of Portugal, Jorge Loureiro, and the Executive Director of the Tourism Promotion Agency of the Alentejo, António Lacerda.

In the first half of 2017, overseas tourism in the Alentejo grew 18.7% with a 14.6% increase in overnight stays. The Centre of Portugal region ended the period with an astonishing growth rate of 26.5% in overseas tourists and 28.2% more overnight stays.

Spain’s Extremadura recorded a rise of 13.3% in foreign tourists, which led to a 14.8% increase in overnight stays.

The European Commission likes this sort of cross-border cooperation and has unallocated funds for the promotion of projects that involve countries trying to work together, often despite years of simmering animosity and resentment.

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