LISBON – Joint forum

Meanwhile, the Portuguese new agency, together with Spanish news agency Efe, will be debating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on tourism in a joint forum that will bring together international organisations and European Commissioners, as well as ministers and mayors from both countries.

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are devastating for European tourism and particularly  the Iberian peninsula, which has led both agencies to choose this topic to inaugurate a partnership in the context of the EURAGORA virtual forum.

The conference – which will be broadcast from 15-16 July via a joint online platform and the social networks of both agencies – is the result of a partnership between Lusa and Efe in the context of EURAGORA, funded by the European Stars4Media pilot project, which aims to support innovation in the media sector through training and cross-border cooperation within the EU.

The approach to the topic of tourism is divided into two main topics:

“Security, what do consumers expect, how do industry, governments, the EU respond?,  which can be streamed on 15 July at 11 am CET (here’s the link), as well as ” Reinvention and opportunities: sun and beach/urban and cultural/rural tourism”, which can be streamed on 16 July at 11 am CET here.  

The first debate – which will be moderated by the presidents of Lusa and Efe, Nicolau Santos and Gabriela Cañas, respectively – will feature a speech by European Commissioner Thierry Breton, with the participation of representatives of the World Tourism Organization and the World Health Organization, the Portuguese (Economy) and Spanish (Tourism) ministers and representatives of the sector (AHP, in Portugal, and Mesa del Turismo, in Spain) and consumers watchdogs (Deco, in Portugal, and OCU, in Spain).

The second debate – which will be moderated by the information directors of Lusa and Efe, Luísa Meireles and José Manuel Sanz – will include speeches by European Commissioner Elisa Ferreira and the person responsible for European funds for Iberian projects, Elena de Miguel, who will be followed by the spokesperson for one of these projects, and representatives of the tourist regions of the Algarve and Balearics.

The debate that will follow will include the mayors of Madrid and Lisbon and representatives of the sector (APAVT, in Portugal, and Exeltur, in Spain).

Europe is the world’s most visited region with its tourism sector representing 10% of EU GDP and employing around 12% of the EU’s labour market or 27 million people. Among the world’s top host tourism countries are France, Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal, while top demand markets are Germany and the UK.

In Portugal, the tourism sector is the largest exporting economic activity, having been responsible for 52.3% of services exports and 19.7% of total exports in 2019. In that year, tourism revenues registered a contribution of 8.7% to Portuguese GDP.

According to data from the World Tourism Organization, tourism represents 12% of Spain’s GDP, which in 2019 received nearly 84 million international tourists. In the previous year, Spain had been the world’s second most popular tourist destination.

(Sofia Branco,

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