Aldeias do Xisto win National Tourism Award in the category of Network Tourism

17 dec 2020
Aldeias do Xisto win National Tourism Award in the category of Network Tourism
The award recognises projects that have developed innovative digital applications and services in the area of tourism, as well as projects that work in a network with other operators.

The Aldeias do Xisto won the National Tourism Award. The award was given in the Network Tourism category, for the work developed on the booking platform Bookinxisto. Organised by the Expresso newspaper, in partnership with BPI, and supported by Turismo de Portugal, the Award recognises, in this category, projects that have developed innovative digital applications and services in the area of tourism, as well as projects that work in network with other operators.

The secret of the Aldeias do Xisto brand lies in its robust partnership with 20 Local Authorities in the Central Region and more than 200 private operators. ADXTUR - Schist Villages Tourism Development Agency is currently a supra-municipal, public-private regional cooperation platform, anchored in a continuous, careful, and specialised process of mobilisation of populations, pooling of wills, and support for investment, in favour of the development of a domain and a vision for the future. From its inception, the Aldeias do Xisto brand has been drawing the country's attention to a wealth of culture that must be preserved and promoted, challenging Portugal to think about its future without excluding the villages. And the only way to do this, on this scale and in this context, is through a broad sharing of strategies supported by a solid network of cooperation. It is for this reason that this prize should be shared with all the men and women, local residents, mayors, technicians, investors, friends, and other visionaries who, from the outset and over these 20 years of history, have managed to maintain the cohesion of this network of interests, but also of comradery and ideals. Without them, none of this would be possible. The prize is therefore for all of them.

Network Tourism

For this category, we were looking for "projects that have developed innovative digital applications and services in the area of tourism, as well as projects that network with other operators. The focus on digital as a means of communication, distribution and sale, for the creation of relationships of trust with customers, is decisive for generating and regenerating the tourism business. The development of applications that support consumers in booking their trips, that support them during their stay, suggesting restaurants, transport or relevant activities and initiatives, are important tools to affirm Portugal as a smart destination. Connectivity is also the establishment of networks and partnerships for joint promotion between the various sectors, allowing strengthening and diversification of tourism services, both in the type of experiences offered and locations covered, meeting the expectations of customers. In this category, projects that reinvent the relationship with customers and streamline access to the tourism experience were eligible".

Villages united under one voice

ADXTUR's entire strategy is centred on the solidarity of its partnerships with associates, which include both public and private bodies. The convergence of the brand and its partners with the objectives of tourism development and local cohesion, as well as with the growth in national and international demand for genuine and sustainable goods and services, has driven initiatives that are openly experimenting with and adding value to the economic and social fabric, as is the case with Bookinxisto. ADXTUR's relational capital with its partners was naturally extended to this digital platform, increasing the network's level of engagement with local partners and stimulating growth in the area's digital empowerment. It should also be remembered that Bookinxisto was the first Portuguese booking centre to be available on Bookinxisto is still one of the country's main channels for the international market.

Bookinxisto contributes to the promotion of a culture of innovation, experimentation, and entrepreneurship centred on home-grown resources, encouraging a collaborative approach among the various players in the area's economic and social development. It has been attracting and mobilising investment to boost the economy and create jobs, generating motivation and conditions to attract and retain the population and improve quality of life. This improvement and expansion of the offer of goods and services with the Aldeias do Xisto brand, and the exploration of new national and international distribution channels, has increased its appeal to tourists, reducing seasonality and maximising permanence.

Bookinxisto - a unique platform

Bookinxisto is a unique platform in Portugal. It is a multi-service reservation centre (accommodation, experiences, and restaurants), available in five languages. It is governed by the rules of Fair Trade, without intermediaries or commissions, and the value of the reserves, the lowest in the market, goes directly and in full to our partners’ accounts. Each of the partners present on the platform manages its own portfolio, and there is a very close, personalised, and individual monitoring of each one, improving their image through their presence on the platform and empowering them for the challenges of digital marketing. The Bookinxisto platform has clearly increased the turnover of ADXTUR's private partners.

The brand's offer is completely gathered onto this platform, which generates scale effects in a very competitive market. Also contributing to this is its exclusive commitment to the economic dynamism of the Aldeias do Xisto brand, transforming its reputation into transactions and business, and benefiting from a common identity. Which does not prevent - quite the contrary - cross selling with other regional brands, such as the Historical Villages of Portugal or Geopark Naturtejo. Finally, there is a personalised "help desk" which answers all users' questions and adapts services to their needs.

Jury of the National Tourism Award:

• Ana Pinho, President of the Serralves Foundation
• Cristina Vaz Tomé, Chief Financial Officer of the Impresa Group
• Daniel Traça, Dean at Nova School of Business and Economics
• João Ricardo Moreira, Executive Director of NOS
• Luís Araújo, Chairman of Turismo de Portugal
• Pedro Barreto, Executive Director of BPI