I was always a bit of an entrepreneur since a young age… Even though pocket money was enough while growing up, I always found ways of making more money.
I never excelled at school, I found it rather boring and a bit of a waste of time, and at the age of twenty one I moved to Germany and started working for an airline.
This is how my career in Tourism began, twenty seven years ago.
I worked for airlines, travel agencies, tour operators and destination marketing all over the world.
At job interviews, when that question would come up “what are your qualities?” I remember always saying “I am stubborn” and although most people wouldn’t even understand why I considered that a quality, I would say it anyway.
I never give up, I hate to give up, I feel that the bigger the challenge, the better it feels to fight for it and even if I end up not achieving it, I know I have done absolutely everything to get it. So rather than feeling defeat, I only feel a bit disappointed.
The Portuguese association of tourism for the Middle East is a project I have been dreaming about for seven years now. It has cost me sleepless nights, tears, despair, joy, endless talks with myself, never ending presentations, phones calls, meetings and so on.
I chose 2020, the worst year ever for the tourism sector to put this project together and during the quarantine I came up with the logo and business plan and convinced myself it was the right time to do it.
Six months later we have a website, several partners in the Middle East and some members in Portugal.
Work wise this was probably the most intense six months of my entire life, trying to figure out how to make this work all by myself but this was also the most satisfying time, because once again I have proved to myself that I should never give up on my dreams, dreams can come true!
Maria Ines Amaral
Founder and CEO of Portuguese Association of Tourism for the Middle East