The main speaker at our second seminar in our tourism series comes from the UNESCO WHS port city of Porto in Portugal. He is Cllr Ricardo Valente and holds the portfolio for Economy, Tourism and Commerce in Porto’s Municipality. We are certainly going to learn a great deal from Cllr Valente who will focus on the experiences of Porto City Council which is committed to sustainable tourism and has a deserved reputation across Europe for being probably the best European city in this regard.

Councillor Ricardo Valente, for Economy, Tourism, and Commerce, Porto

Porto was named Best European Destination for three years in 2013, 2016 and 2017 and then they decided to stop marketing their city as a tourist destination. Instead they have a clear strategy for managing tourism which is based around a couple of major decisions that Porto is a Liveable city, a Sustainable city and an Eco city. Everything passes through these prisms. So for example all transport is electric and there are no diesel vehicles. Cars are being phased out of the city centre, no coaches serving the cruise liners are allowed into the city centre.

Porto City Council regulates their Night Time Economy. There can be night clubs and bars only in certain areas and all are linked to the police station so that noise can be monitored. AirBnB is regulated for certain neighbourhoods only and licences are refused to stop them taking over homes meant for local people. Everyone booking via AirBnB has to sign a protocol about behaviour and expectations! Tourist hop-on hop-off buses are closely monitored and restricted with the council deciding which routes they can use and they must all be electric vehicles. Businesses based in heritage assets have their rent frozen so they are protected from market values which could price them out of the market. And they have a tourist tax which is 2€ a night and goes directly into affordable housing for the poorest and tax reductions for those who live in the city centre!

Already we can see that they are way ahead of Liverpool when it comes to being a progressive city for tourists and residents alike. Engage wants to promote our city region as the very best place we can be for tourists and visitors alike and we feel that a good starting point is a public debate about where we are and where we want to be. We are keen to see residents play a role in deciding the direction that we should be moving in. Learning from other places is what Engage has promoted for years.  You can fly to Porto from Liverpool John Lennon Airport every Monday and Friday. It is to the airport that Jay Hynd from The Guide, one of our speakers in seminar one, will be heading to meet his virtual visitor. Also we are due to welcome the Portuguese cruise ship Vasco da Gama to Liverpool at the Cruise Liner Terminal on 23rd/24th September. Another of our first seminar speakers Ngunan Adamu will be making her way there to greet her virtual visitor.

As with all seminars in our 2021 ‘Destination Liverpool’ series, we’ll have a local panel to build on the headline speaker’s presentation, and to contribute, alongside the audience, to our closing Q&A. Our panellists for the 2nd seminar include:

Cllr Harry Doyle: Cabinet Member for Culture and Visitor Economy LCC

Laura Pye: Director of National Museums Liverpool and Visitor Economy Board Member at Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership

Dr Takamitsu Jimura: Programme Manager for MSc International Tourism Management and Senior Lecturer in Tourism, Liverpool John Moores University

Destination Porto: 6pm 20th October 2021

If you live in Liverpool City Region you’d be most welcome at our in-person seminar at LJMU, Student Life Building, Copperas Hill, L3 5GE in the City Centre. You can also follow the entire seminar and series on-line.  More details and ticket booking link below:

More info