What visitors really want?

The German television company WDR has broadcast at the beginning of this month in their weekly travel program Wunderschön! (Beautiful!), a 90 minutes report of Madeira “Blumeninsel im Atlantik” (Island of Flowers), presented by Tamina Kallert.

WebTV Madeira “Blumeninsel im Atlantik” (90 min. German)

Although it is in German and 1 hour and a half long … it is worth to watch this webTV program.

One thing I noticed when watching this German travel report ….. from it you can learn what visitors want to see and visit. Remember, this is a 1 hour and a half long TV program, so it should cover the most important attractions and things-to-do that a German traveler will be looking for in Madeira. I got a good impression of what that is … but I leave it up to you to find it out yourself. I am curious if you come to the same conclusion as I did.

After watching the TV report one will learn that all the attractions that were covered by the German Wunderschön! group had one thing in common …. they all missed one characteristic …. namely “modern”. Talking in Internet-terms … if you could tag all the attractions mentioned in the TV program … the word “modern”, “new-flanged” or “futuristic” would not be one of them. In the German travel coverage I missed things like modern entities such as Story Center, Casa das Mudas, Madeira Magic, Santana Theme park, trip with one of the catamarans, double deck buses, shopping malls/centers, and also none of the modern hotels were mentioned.

My conclusion is that visitors prefer to experience the old-fashioned. Searching for old traditions and typical things that they do not get to see in their home country or have been lost during the modernization. Just ask a Madeira visitor to name the characteristics of Madeira …. and you will hear most of them mentioning the same subjects that were covered in the German TV program. This is a lesson that one can learn from.

My advice to (future) entrepreneurs on Madeira: learn first the Madeiran (old) culture …. search for images of (lost) traditions …. and if you can restore (part of it) back …. then you will be a winner in the area of tourism.

World Tourism Day

World Tourism Day

27th of September is World Tourism Day. The purpose of this day is to display awareness that tourism is vital to the international community (especially for the Madeira Islands) and to show how it affects the social, cultural, political and economic values.

And that is why the island of Madeira offers on this particular day FREE entrance to all tourists to most of the gardens, museums, galleries, exhibitions etc. Funchal city center will be decorated with flags especially for the occasion apart from other cultural activities.

Upon the arrival at the airport of Madeira and some official tourist offices, tourists will be greeted with flowers and gifts.

For the complete programme visit the Madeira Islands Official Tourism Website

Fly to Funchal from Manchester Airport

Jet2.com, a low cost airline from the north of England, is planning to fly to Madeira Islands starting in the summer of 2010.

The airline is offering one way flights from Manchester Airport including taxes from as little as £49.99 to Funchal (Madeira). Departures can be booked now online and will start from 3rd of May 2010.

Easyjet Resident Discount

For those who are resident of Madeira Island and have booked a flight from Funchal to Lisbon or Oporto with Easyjet …. can apply for a resident’s discount.

You need to go to the Portuguese version of the www.easyjet.com site (not the English or German version) where you can get an official invoice. On the start page you will see on the right side a box with the sentence ‘É residente na Madeira?‘. Click this option and you will go to a page where you need to fill out a form. Be careful before sending the form because you cannot return and correct the details once you have sent it. Also … you can only request the invoice for one flight at a time …. thus not for the whole return flight (ida and volta).

After sending the form EasyJet will then send you an official invoice. This document together with the boarding passes, your passport and Número de Contribuinte (Tax Id Number) you can go to the office and request them to pay out the subsidy.

In case you have filled out the form incorrectly or having problems with filling it, then call the Easyjet Call Center at 808 204 204.

One-question Interview

1-Question InterviewToday’s One-question Interview is for those travelers that have taken a voyage on the ferry line between Funchal (Madeira) and Portimão (Portugal). We would like to know how did they experienced the boat trip between Funchal – Portimão.

The question is therefore:

What is your experience with the ferry line between Madeira and Portugal?

Madeira’s tourism potential uncorked

The Atlantic island of Madeira is on track for a record year, according to the region’s tourism chief, Conceição Estudante.

During a recent interview with eTurboNews, she predicted that the number of tourist arrivals will break the 1 million mark for the first time, signifying a 5 percent increase compared with 2007.

Estudante cited the advent of low-cost flight operations as one of the principal reasons for the recent surge in traffic, along with a much-improved infrastructure such as the new facilities at Santa Catarina airport, more up-market hotels and a greatly extended road system.

The advent of low-cost flights to the island has made an immediate impact, particularly from the UK, which is a trend that looks set to continue.” she said.

Once on the ground, tourists can now circumnavigate the island in just over an hour on brand-new motorways and visit a variety of recently-opened attractions such as the Madeira Story Centre, Casa das Mudas Contemporary Art Museum and the caves and volcanology centre at São Vicente.

Madeira’s popularity as a cruise destination also continues to grow, with 264 ships making a stopover last year, representing a rise of 14 percent compared with the previous year.

Cruises are a thriving segment of the market and we have hopes for a further 5 per cent increase this year” Estudante added.

The neighboring island of Porto Santo to the north-east of Madeira has also greatly enhanced its product portfolio in recent years by adding golf courses and spa facilities to the mix. The idyllic Atlantic hideaway, once home to Christopher Columbus prior to his pioneering voyage to America, boasts a long stretch of sandy beach, a vital tourism asset and one that Madeira doesn’t possess.

The idea is to extend Porto Santo’s traditional summer season with golf courses, spa centers and more resort hotels. Both islands are ecologically in vogue and blessed with a temperate year-round climate, an abundance of lush green subtropical vegetation and some of the most striking sea and mountainscapes imaginable, and all within striking range of most European cities.” she concluded.

Author: Mark Harding (ETN Portugal)

Monte Festival

One of the most popular religious (folk) festivals of Madeira will take place … the Monte FestivalA Nossa Senhora do Monte (Our Lady of the Mount).

With this festival Funchal commemorates the deliverance of the people from hunger and plague. Celebrations consists of a city fair which lasts through the night, with braziers and all sorts of wonderful Madeirense delicacies to feed the both inhabitants and tourists. There is no need to get up early the next day as it is a national holiday. People head to church to celebrate Mass, which is followed by a procession from the church in which the devout pilgrims of the Senhora do Monte thank their saint for all the blessings they have received over the year.

The Church of Our Lady of the Mount, patron saint of Madeira, is also very popular with pilgrims who come here to pray or fulfill vows by the tomb of Emperor Karl I of Austria. Karl I died in 1922 at Quinta do Monte, now called Quinta Jardins do Imperador or Quinta of the Emperor´s Gardens. It is a lively celebration lasting two days and transforms the romantic, picturesque parish of Monte into one of the busiest places in Madeira, full of food and drink stalls and plenty of music. (source: Turismo da Madeira)

Easyjet Flights Madeira-Lisbon

EasyJetEASYJET has started to offer tickets for its new route between Madeira and Lisbon.

Another step to improve the low cost travel towards Madeira Islands … which will start on the 27th of October … exactly one year after starting with regular flights between London Stansted and Funchal.

This is good news for the regional tourist sector, in particular, and also for the madeirean, in general, as this new operation offers dirt-cheap prices, in comparison with other carriers in the same route. At the moment, the lowest offered ticket is just under the € 26.00 (all inclusive).

Easyjet is one of the best known low cost airlines, with low base prices, and that has revolutionized the concept of the aerial trips in the whole world … a concept that has been followed by others.

Website Easyjet : www.easyjet.com

More information of which airlines comes and goes to Madeira, visit our blog article Finding Flights to Madeira