Passion. Pride. Portugal. Joao.

Yf Brodala
Reading Time: 4 minutes

In our ‘introducing’ we have a look at the humans behind the travel brands and regions. Every time we ask 8 questions (and sometimes more). Today we introduce Joao, director of the Portuguese National Tourism Board in Belgium and the Netherlands.

Hi Joao, tell us a little bit of yourself? Who are you?

I am João Rodeia, 51, father of 3 young adults. I am passionate about Portugal, country I have been promoting in the Netherlands and Belgium for more than 20 years. I have always been focused on tourism and dedicated most of my life combining a deep knowledge about the destination (myself a tour guide and story teller) with language skills and marketing. I was raised in Lisbon, but love every single region of the best tourism destination: Portugal.

How did you end up at your role?

Actually, it came as a natural evolution. As I have been developing work in all areas of promotion, both in the Netherlands and Belgium, and have acquired so much knowledge and developed such a network of contacts, becoming the Director of the Portuguese National Tourism Board in Belgium and the Netherlands seemed just the next obvious step and I embraced the challenge with all enthusiasm and energy some years ago.

Where do you get the most satisfaction from?

Being able to serve my country and promote it every day, gives me continuous pleasure. With time, I realized that I have also become a kind of bridge between Portugal and  Belgium/the Netherlands and connecting people and make things happen serving the interests of both sides gives me a huge daily satisfaction.

What the key to success in the cooperation between a tour operator and a tourist board from your perspective? What are the key elements in a good relationship?

Trust is essential. Then, making the network of everyone involved work can be challenging but once you achieve something together and see operations grow, than you know you are on the right path. Bringing happy clients to Portugal in a joint partnership with a Tour Operator makes all sense and synergies are obvious: together, we are stronger and reach farther…

Is there a joint advertising campaign where you are very proud of?

The Portuguese National Tourism Board has developed so many good joint advertising campaigns in the past years it would be unfair to mention one only. However, I am myself a huge fan of our own “Visit Portugal’s It’s Time to Stop”, in the beginning of the pandemic.

What’s that one campaign that you envy? Where you thought: this should have been ours? Or another one that touched you?

Many years ago, a Port Wine brand developed a campaign associating Portugal with the colour black, using strong and vibrant colours. Still today, I see the campaign in front of me: “Portugal, the country where black is colour”.

The travel industry has been affected from Covid but we are on our way up. How do you see the near future of travel?

I see travelling as a very important ingredient to make our lives happier. We all want to be happy, so we all must travel. I am sure, in the near future, collectively, we will find a good balance between happiness and travel in a more respectful way for the planet.

Is there life outside the job?

Of course. For a Portuguese, Family (with capital letter) is always an essential part of life. And sharing quality moments with your dear ones transforms your life in a rich path. I am also passionate about art, gastronomy and learning from other cultures and experiences. The world is just so amazing and I still have so many destinations to discover…

What makes you happy?

Family and friends, good weather, time to enjoy a piece of art, amazing architecture, going back in time in historical locations, cheese and wine sunsets, a walk in the woods…

Music always makes Sunweb stand out of the competition, so this question should not be left out. What your number 1 music choice?

I deeply enjoy classical music and am a big fan of some opera pieces. But I also appreciate enormously some new interpreters of the contemporary Portuguese Fado, world’s intangible cultural heritage!

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