Porto & North rises to the world's top 20 to host international events and congresses


The most prestigious International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) places the city of Porto in the European top 15 and in the world top 20 of the ranking of destinations with the best conditions to host events of the MICE segment.

The Destination Performance Index, under the responsibility of the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), places Porto as one of the destinations that performed better during the peak of the pandemic and that were better prepared for the tourism recovery.

In 2019, before the health crisis, Porto was in the 39th place in the ranking of destinations with the best conditions to host events in the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) segment and is currently the 14th European destination best placed on this list and the 16th in the world.

Luís Pedro Martins, president of Turismo do Porto e Norte de Portugal, considers that this “is excellent news, the result of a lot of work in structuring this product and also of a bold strategy of international promotion, with some of our contents getting the highest accolades worldwide.”

“All the professionals in the tourism industry showed a huge spirit of resilience during the pandemic, in the way they faced the crisis and laid the foundations for us to be well placed for the recovery, which fortunately is happening and delivering results”, he adds.

The MICE industry is strategic for Porto & North, which early identified the segment as “important for the recovery, due to the multiplying effect of this product, both in terms of tourism consumption and in combating seasonality”, also considers Luís Pedro Martins.

As a result of this investment, for the current year the destination Porto & North has already drawn more than a hundred events that, in total, will bring more than 32 thousand people to the region. Among them are events of great international notoriety, such as the M&I Forum, the AITO Overseas Conference and Wordcamp Europe.

To recognise and reward the efforts of destinations in relation to COVID policies, adaptability, and technological resources to convert in-person events into virtual/hybrid ones, ICCA created an index in which were assessed several items adapted to the new reality and characteristics of the events during that time. The sum of all indicators and their weighted average results in the position in the destinations' performance ranking.

The assessors supported the destination's rise in the quick response by all stakeholders to the constraints of COVID, the strong investment in digitalization, strengthening in terms of communication, the effort to identify potential events and the resilience plan of Turismo do Porto e Norte, aimed at holding or rescheduling events.

For Luís Pedro Martins, “this result is, besides being excellent news that strengthens the positioning of the destination in this segment, a fair compensation for the region's effort in improving the offer and strengthening the investment of Turismo do Porto e Norte in the development of Business tourism, which has been, in fact, a strategic focus by this Board since the beginning of its mandate.”

The president of Turismo do Porto e Norte de Portugal recalls that this Board “has started, in the last two years, to allocate 25% of its budget to this product, with clear results achieved in the field of communication of the destination, as has been verified by the successive international awards of The Majestic Adventures of Ofelia de Souza campaign.”