Madeira popular for Christmas again

… with the Portuguese

Madeira popular for Christmas again 1

Madeira, the Azores, Cape Verde and Brazil are once again at the top of Portuguese people’s preferences for travelling at the end of the year, holidays that are selling very well, although more expensive, tour operators told press agency Lusa.

”Sales for the festive period of Christmas and New Year’s Eve have been going quite well, at a slightly higher rate than last year with greater anticipation of sales. If we compare the same period in 2022, considering the start of travel from December 20th to 31st, this year we have an increase of 800 passengers”, said Solférias Operations Director, Sónia Regateiro, to Lusa.

Also satisfied with the sales are the general director of Nortravel, Nuno Aleixo, and the commercial director of Sonhando, Fernando Bandrés.

“Although we have noticed a slower pace in bookings in recent weeks – which is normal as it is common for consumers to book for the end of the year further in advance compared to other festive periods – we are pleased with sales,” said. Fernando Bandres.

According to Sonhando’s commercial director, his company still has “some capacity for those last-minute customers”, so he is confident “of closing a good sales period”.

The person in charge also specified that “sales of reservations with departures between December 20th and 31st increased by 47% in passenger volume and 82% in billing volume, therefore, there was no drop in sales”.

“However, the gross sales margin begins to reflect greater product competition on the market compared to 2022, but it seems that the desire to travel remains very present, even contrary to the news and the economic outlook for 2024”, said Fernando Bandrés, alluding to the slowdown that the sector also says can be expected.

Nuno Aleixo said that they sold everything, but, as a precaution, Nortravel adjusted the offer given the situation.

”The year was, without a doubt, very positive globally and the end of the year will be no exception. The offer placed on the market has completely sold out, although there is possibly less supply than in other New Year’s Eve years. This year we did not invest, for example, in special operations for the Caribbean. If the supply was more adjusted, it was precisely matched to the demand that existed, which is why everything is quite well composed”, he stated.

When asked whether the rise in prices for travel and tourist packages is a reality, everyone confirms it.

“Prices actually increased either as a result of inflation in different countries or due to the increase in fuel in relation to the aerial part. However, we maintained all the announced ‘charter’ operations”, said the Solférias manager.

A situation that the person responsible for Sonhando also confirmed, remembering that, during festive seasons, it is also common for rates to rise, following the law of supply and demand.

”However, we note that outside of this season, we have also faced increases in airfare and hotel costs. The operating costs of these companies have increased due to the prices of fuel, raw materials, and electricity, among others. Although we are making efforts to absorb part of this increase in our (profit) margin, it is inevitable that part of this excess cost will be passed on to the consumer”, explained Fernando Bandrés.

With regard to destinations, everyone points to “the traditional ones at the end of the year”, with the general director of Nortravel referring to Madeira as “the number one in terms of sales” for the company at this time.

Still here, “a destination that until four or five years ago was not in great demand, and now it is, is the island of São Miguel”, in the Azores, said Nuno Aleixo.

“It is quite positive, although we are talking about Portuguese islands that have very high occupations, but often non-continental ones and, therefore, it is often difficult to find products at attractive prices because other [foreign] markets normally have a higher average price”, he explained.

Nuno Aleixo also said that Cape Verde “was also an excellent surprise”, as was the strong investment “in the Christmas markets” in Europe.

“In our case and in this order in passenger volume: Madeira, Brazil, Mexico, São Tomé, the Bijagós Archipelago in Guinea-Bissau, Spanish Islands, Cuba and Marrakesh”, said, for his part, the commercial director of Sonhando.

At Solférias, the most popular destinations this year were, according to Sónia Regateiro, Brazil, followed by Cape Verde, Mainland Portugal and Madeira, Disneyland Paris, Azores, and S. Tomé and Príncipe.

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