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Now, I must make a confession. I’ve never had that urge, unlike thousands of students, to get out and travel our great world. Leaving the farming community with its green hills and sleepy villages of Dorset for the hustle-bustle of London is just one the many great challenges a homing Pidgeon like me face. So, you can imagine my surprise at being informed we would be making a 4-day residential trip to Lisboa, Portugal as part of the final year of my Events Management degree!

IMG_0162However, in the deluge of final year assignments, exams and writing a dissertation it was more welcomed than any trip before. It was made sweeter by glorious sunshine whilst the rest of the UK was frozen in! The trip aimed to complement our unit in International Event Management by showcasing how Lisboa and Cascais are flourishing as event destinations. However, the perfect blend of academia and cultural exploration will make it one of the most memorable experiences of my degree.

Being able to visit some of the most important event venues in Portugal, alongside inspirational talks from across the industry was fantastic. However, as someone who wants to work within sports events, the trip to the MEO arena was a standout moment. Following a Q&A with the CEO, where he mentioned that they have only banned one event at the venue to protect is brand and that was Bull Fighting, we went on a tour of the arena. We often visit venues like the O2 and Wembley as spectators, but the opportunity to explore and discuss the venue from a production viewpoint was captivating.

IMG_0181As a future sport event manager, I will always consider Cascais as a venue, not only due to its beauty, but also because of Bernardino the Vice President of Tourism. It is his philosophy that business should be exchanged amongst friends and to become friends you need to spend time in the bar together – not sat across a table in a boardroom. I love Portuguese business!

With such a rich history to the region, we made sure there was plenty of time to explore the historic sites such as the Castillo de São Jorge and Jerónimos Monastery in Santa Maria de Belem, home of the most delicious Custard Tartlets you will ever taste! Oh, and for the record, we did not see a Nando’s anywhere, not one!

Overall, I’ve come back with a greater insight in to international events, and just a little bit more desire to broaden my horizons and look to find more beautiful places to visit in the future!

Obrigado Lisboa!

By Nick Payne

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