Time for Center of Portugal… Interview with Pedro Machado
by Hugo Marcos on 28 May 2020

Who is Pedro Machado?

President of the Regional Tourism Entity, Turismo Centro Portugal, the most diverse portuguese tourist region.
He has a great appetite for knowledge, he is an entrepreneur and a "Thinker". Perhaps, because he holds a PhD in Tourism, a Master's Degree in Educational Psychology and a Degree in Philosophy.
Loves to travel, get to know new cultures and be with friends and family. Pedro is a lover of Chocolate, the famous Pastel de Tentúgal (typical of his homeland), good wine and a table full of friends.

According to the World Tourism Organization (WTO), tourism can be defined as "a social, cultural and economic phenomenon, related to the movement of people to places outside their place of residence".

For a few months we were deprived of this freedom of movement and "Time" was imposed as a fundamental rule. Time to be at home, time to stop ... and work from home. Time to stop trains, we stop cars, no time for planes, time to stop giving hugs. It was time to make time for time!

With "time", we face this pandemic, which stopped the world, to prevent the spread of this timeless virus. And over time, major economic impacts have come in all sectors, but especially in tourism.

It was during this new pandemic scenario that the Centro de Portugal tourism region in partnership with Lobby Films & Advertising decided that "Time" would be the motto for their new promotion and communication strategy.

On March 19th the campaign "Haverá Tempo! / There Will be time!", designed, developed and launched in just 5 days, was presented. The idea was clear, to send a positive message, strong in the awareness of the call for everyone to stay at home and send a sign of hope in times of great difficulty. Was the success evident, and a question immediately arose? When will there be time?

Well, we have seen the beginning of the lifting of the restrictions imposed all over the world and we begin to feel that very soon we will be able to return to normal and the daily lives of our lives.
For Turismo Centro de Portugal, Time has come, on the 18th of May the new campaign aimed at the domestic market was launched, which will be in effect until August in various digital and traditional media.

For Lobby Films & Advertising "the film has as an emotional structure the restart and the possibilities it brings, for example, to feel everything as if it were the first time. In fact, and as the voice of the film narrates, when was the last time you felt something like the first time? A creative rationale that takes viewers of the film to the first times, to childhood, to trips, to new experiences but also to those we have done so many times that they are no longer valued."

To better understand the whole strategy behind of this two emotive campaigns, Hugo Marcos, spoke with Pedro Machado, President of the Regional Tourism Entity of Centro de Portugal.

“We have to communicate the destination and its products, but always with delicacy and sensitivity, showing balance, rationality and concern for tourists. “

HM: What does it mean for you to be President of Turismo Centro de Portugal?

PM: It means that i have a bigger responsibility, bigger than other colleagues from other touristic regions. when I assumed the presidency, the region had no notoriety, it did not appear in the tourists' mindset as a tourist destination to be considered, when choosing a destination to vacation or visit. It was necessary to do everything from the beginning, to build stone by stone, what is today the Center of Portugal. So, besides my child, this is one of the greatest projects of my life. It is a huge privilege and a great responsibility.

HM: Let me congratulate you for these two excellent campaigns launched at very different times than usual. We know that preparing a good tourism promotional video for a destination is not easy, especially if we are talking about the largest tourism region in Portugal. I imagine that defining a solid strategy to overcome the challenges that satisfy 100 municipalities with a vast material and intangible heritage requires a team and an almost herculean spirit.
How did the idea of behind these two campaigns focusing on "Time" come about? Tell us about the creative process and what was the defined strategy and what objectives you wanted to achieve.

PM: We are aware that we have a great social responsibility in the way we communicate. It is necessary to understand that nothing “is“ or will remain “as it was” afer COVID-19, there are many risks and as the state of emergency is lifted, life will have to continue with many precautions.
We have to communicate the destination and its products, but always with delicacy and sensitivity, showing balance, rationality and concern for tourists. That's what we did when, at the beginning of this pandemic crisis, we launched the “There will be time” campaign, advising people to stay at home in social isolation. We intended to be on the side of the “solution”, so that, with care and caution, this whole crisis could be resolved as quickly as possible and with the least possible impact on the lives of all of us.
But we continued to work, aware that one day, that time would come. And this is what we intend to announce with this “The time has come” campaign.
This “time”, which we now announce, presupposes a vast and intense work downstream of concern for the safety of tourists, with helping companies and entrepreneurs, city councils and different institutions, to prepare the destination for this new context. We try, above all, to follow the consumer's "state of mind", to understand what he thinks and feels at the moment in relation to the world, the way of traveling and socializing. We try to get to the emotional background of these issues and find the idea, the concept that intensely concentrated the will to live, to leave, to return.

HM: Both campaigns were developed mainly for the domestic market. Since there are still restrictions on travel by foreign tourists, it is necessary to value domestic tourism. How important is the tourism of proximity to the Centro region?

PM: The tourism of proximity, destinations to which in can travel by car, avoiding places with many people, will be the tendency. So, internal tourism will be fundamental. We always believe in the importance of internal tourism (available all year), and nowadays it is more important to destinations like Center of Portugal.

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HM: How important is the video for tourism promotion campaigns at Turismo Centro de Portugal?

PM: The production of promotional videos has been Turismo do Centro's biggest bet. There is no communication as effective as that which is done through the power of a good image, a deep and engaging voice, and impactful music. In terms of tourist promotion, getting a film to translate all the power of a region, with a territory as vast and diverse as the Center of Portugal, is a real challenge. But the truth is that every time we see an increase in the number of views of our film on social media, every time we see that it causes a positive reaction in people, which is impactful, each time we win a prize for our film, we are rewarding a region. We are managing to gain notoriety for the Centro de Portugal brand. We are helping to attract more tourists to the region. We are helping our companies and our entrepreneurs. And at the end of the line, helping our communities. Undoubtedly, a good tourist promotion film is an excellent tool to help us to achieve our goals.

HM: A good, emotional story, with a hint of feelings, and a few drops of humor, immediately captures our attention. In your opinion, how important is the storytelling in Travel Video Marketing?

PM: Tourism Center of Portugal is building a well-known reputation, within borders and all over the world, since started betting on audiovisual promotion, with travel video marketing. Given that we are the most diverse national touristic region, with many tourist products, we consider that with this films, with great quality, that includes the history of the region, of the people that lives there, the aspects that make it unique and distinctive, and that makes it distinctive from other tourist destinations, it´s fundamental.

HM: Your bet on Travel Video Marketing in the promotion strategy has paid off. Proof of this is the recognition obtained by the countless international awards won. What do these awards mean to Turismo do Centro and how are they important for the region and the country?

PM: The Tourism Center of Portugal brand has been conquered more and more notoriously and visibly with the public. The strategy has proved to be the right one, as we check the numbers of visitors and other indicators of the tourist activity: the tourism in the region rises to historical values, far higher than the national average. It was the ‘Best National Tourism Region“ (2015 and 2019), on the Publituris Portugal Travel Awards; o Grand Prix CIFFT 2017 (promotional film “Preferred Destination”); o Gold Award, prizes “ITTA - International Travel & Tourism Awards” (2018), in the category “Best National Tourism Board”; and on top-5 of “Destination Brand of the Decade”, on “The Travel Marketing Awards” (2020).


HM: Finally, and to finish our interview, it has already been announced that the time has come! Despite many uncertainties and concerns, I believe that your message "Time has come. Center of Portugal, the first of many times!" is reaching the hearts of all who love the Portugal Center, those who have not yet visited but intend to visit and those who will be eager to know after watching these two magnificent videos. For them, under what conditions will they find Centro de Portugal?

PM: Tourism Center of Portugal is already preparing the campaign "Life is now", following the evolution of the pandemic and the mood of consumers. And we have already a film to announce it!

The time of „Life is Now“ will come when people will be able to start thinking about their travels, their holidays, always with normal concerns about safety and health. And it will be soon.

We will be able to read consumer behaviours and define strategies that are aligned with them.

We want to reinforce the authenticity of our territory, the interior territories with low population density (an important factor to guarantee public health and some social isolation), and personal and unique experiences, which can only be found in the Center of Portugal. We want to convey the image of Center of Portugal as a more authentic, safer, more relational territory. We want to structure a territory capable of responding to the new trends that this pandemic has created with the city councils and the businessmen of the restaurant and hotel industry. And we are already preparing the best tourism promotion campaigns among tourists, always using good tourist promotion films.

We will emerge from this crisis stronger, stronger, and more willing to live experiences of personal valorisation.

Haverá Tempo / There will be time

Chegou o Tempo /  Time has come

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