Pictured: Bica da Cana.
The Madeira Promotion Bureau has joined the Association of Touring and Adventure Suppliers to capitalise on the growing demand for activity and adventure holidays.
The tourist board has become an associate member of Atas, which will enable it to promote the attractions of the Portuguese island destination to travel agency and tour operator suppliers who are also members.
Joana Dias – the bureau’s account manager for the UK and Ireland, Nordic countries and Benelux – said: “We feel very privileged with this partnership and it will certainly allow us to target new tour operators and quickly get them on board with our products and services related to activities and adventure.
“Madeira features within all the large-scale volume-driving tour operators within the UK.
“We feel that we still need to generate awareness especially among agents and specialist tour operators that feature adventure and experiences holidays.
“There is massive potential there; we need to make sure they are introduced to our adventure product and include Madeira in their programmes.
“Madeira has an abundance of adventure and is well poised for a UK traveller to explore.”
Hiking and walking are among the most popular activities and the island also offers diving, canyoning and mountain biking.
Before the pandemic, adventure travel was the fastest growing sector within tourism and Dias said the island is well placed to capitalise on that continuing consumer demand.
The destination has also launched a new brand identity with the slogan “Madeira. Belongs To All”.
Dias said the branding will highlight the island’s “warm hospitality and melting pot of cultures”, combined with its mild climate, scenery and the chance for tourists to live like locals.
“People feel good when they are in the destination and long to come back. Hence the theme of belonging,” she said.
“Being a region that loves to celebrate, we are looking forward to restarting our annual calendar of festivities, from the wine festival, through to our world-famous New Year’s Eve fireworks, carnival and flower festival.
“We also have a growing number of events focused on outdoor activities, such as trail running, promoted on our recently relaunched website, www.madeiraoceantrails.com.
“The rugged, volcanic terrain of Madeira lends itself perfectly to outdoor pursuits.”
“Atas will help us continue our ongoing destination repositioning, and attract a younger, more active, adventurous traveller.”
She also recommended features such as the island’s network of ancient irrigation channels, called levadas, which have become hiking trails; waterfalls for canyoning; and some of the best dolphin and whale-watching opportunities in Europe.
As well as the trends for adventure travel and outdoors activities, the destination is seeing demand for safety and good healthcare facilities.
“Madeira ticks the boxes for all of these,” said Dias.