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The travel industry is one that retains an ever-lasting carbon footprint: practices are green mode

Having begun its relevance in history as a frontier in the spice trade between Europe and Southeast Asia, Portugal has now interpreted itself as a supplier of homelier consorts

The Offerings of Portugal to The Visitors of The World

Occupying the south-west point of Europe and bordering the country of Spain, is Portugal. It began its relevance in history as a frontier in the spice trade between Europe and Southeast Asia. Spanning across 88,889 kilometers wide on its mainland area, Portugal has eighteen districts. It offers itself as a destination for holidaymakers through its beach destinations, architecture, history and native food options. 

The country is in the guiding hands of the individuals of The Little Orange. It established itself as a ‘World Leading Destination’ once again in 2020 by World Travel Awards. Portugal has now marked itself as a sought-after destination for travelers within Europe and across destinations. The Little Orange was founded in 2020 during the beginnings of the pandemic. It is a crusade for the country of Portugal, emerged under the helm of its two owners. Antonio Homem de Melo is one of the co-owners of the brand. de Melo describes the company as a travel agency, presenting curated travel experiences based across Portugal for its customers. 

Tackling the gap in the touristic offerings of the country

De Melo’s partner, Joāo Líbano Monterio, was the individual who imbued the idea into a reality. De Melo is from the northern side of Portugal and Monterio is a native of Alentejo. They collated their know-how and experiences across the country over the years into the business. Coming together, de Melo and Monterio configured a business proposition that sets itself apart from travel agencies in the locale. As age-old tales go, the two co-founders were friends prior to becoming business partners. de Melo shares: «We were born and raised in Portugal and there is an abundance in history, culture and travel destinations». He distinguishes the North and South ends of the country. The Northern hemisphere has Celtic influence. 

Compared to its Southern counterpart, which was influenced by the Moors during the period of trade in the thirteenth century. Having traversed across locations in his youth, de Melo prompts a gap in the touristic offerings of the country. «Having seen the offerings of the countries we traveled to across the globe; we came to the collected realization that Portugal is able to accommodate its genre of esoteric sights that are native to the land». 

The Faces of The Little Orange & The Stories They Tell

De Melo completed his education and pursued a career in economics. He shares that he has been peers with Monetrio for a period of time, dating back to their childhood. «My partner was a journalist. He then formed a public relations business in the city of Lisbon». They met in their formative schooling years. They retained their friendship through years of letter writing in their time apart. «After getting to know one another and becoming close friends, my family and I migrated to Brazil for ten years. We remained friends through the years, and we continued that when I returned to Portugal». Monterio had solicited his assistance for the public relations firm that he owned. 

This led to the eventual business venture in travel and hospitality through The Little Orange. «I dedicated my time in my adulthood to working alongside my peers. I had made the decision to forgo my shares in the company and turn to a life of retirement». de Melo explains that his time in retirement was cut-short when Monterio prompted the business venture in travel. They discussed means to disjoint themselves from pre-existing travel agencies. de Melo illustrates that The Little Orange is one catered to realizing each of their customers’ wants and needs. De Melo explains that there is a layer of particularity in the travelers that have utilized the services offered.

Lampoon Magazine, Quinta do Crasto (Douro)
Quinta do Crasto (Douro)

Bringing forth Portugal in a subtle manner

A collaborative effort with an advertising agency determined the name of the travel agency. The co-owner explains that signifying a name for the business was a hurdle that took a period to overcome. De Melo shares that Monterio found the name to have held an allure of «optimism». While de Melo admits to taking time in digesting the suggestion, he grew to find adoration in the name. It brought forth Portugal in a subtle manner. «Portuguese tradesmen who frequented locations in Asia obtained a strain of oranges from a region in China. Having brought this back to Portugal with them, the tradesmen cultivated this strain in the region. It gave way to consuming the fruit in a varied manner». 

The history of the orange fruit in Portugal is relevant to the consumption of the fruit as a whole. The oranges that grew in the country had a layer of bitterness. It did not allow native individuals to ingest it. The pertinence of the ‘orange’ embodies in language as well, marks de Melo. The word ‘orange’ has the connotation which lies in the meaning of the fruit. It is similar sounding to the name ‘Portugal’ in a number of languages. The co-owner shares that in the Greek language, it is known as ‘portokáli’. «In Arabic it is known as burtaqāl and in Turkish it is portağal. This to us reflected the country of Portugal and tied back to the name of the business – The Little Orange». The word ‘little’ is reflective of the size of the country, one that is relative in size to neighboring countries.

The Existence of The Little Orange – Matching the Needs of Its Clientele

The Little Orange operates to bridge the gaps that exist in the offerings of commercial travel agencies. «To set ourselves apart from the pool of travel agencies. Monterio and myself did our market research in determining how we could meet the needs of travelers». The co-owner shares one example of the types of beds that travelers prefer. When queried on what he meant by this, de Melo shares that sleep preferences in each individual vary. Some individuals prefer beds that vary in size, shape, and comfortability. This, de Melo marks, is one of the ways that The Little Orange curates its travel experiences for its clientele. 

The Little Orange curating travel experiences for its clientele

Offering destinations, hotels and villas and experiences based on their needs and wants. Another step in setting itself apart, de Melo and Monterio have scouted locations across the country. They collaborate with hotels and villas. «We took feedback from our customers. There are a number of individuals who prefer lodging in hotels during their trips. There are also a subset of consumers who indulge in the privacy and seclusion of living in homes or villas. This has been a recurring theme, one that became established due to the pandemic». The addition to providing the villas as an option for lodging was an introduction made in recent months. Ensuring each need is met, each villa comes pre-equipped with an in-house chef from the locale. 

Serving native food options and acquiring produce from the surroundings is important. An example of a villa is the Casa Da Talha. When translated into English, its name brings forth the meaning ‘Carving House’. The Little Orange shares that the locals know it as ‘The Home of the Return.’ It is an hour and a half away by car from the capital city Lisbon. The Casa da Talha is an architectural marvel rooted along the coastal sites of Comporta and Alentejo, the Atlantic Ocean. A property adorned with white-washed walls, the vast landscape includes cork trees and the farming of animals and vegetation. The Casa da Talha is one of twenty-three villas across the country that work with The Little Orange. De Melo explains that the experiences in Alentejo are native to the area. 

Locations are native to the business

The Little Orange adjusts the locations they curate. «In the region of Alentejo, there is an underwater wine experience. They cage the wine in the sea. Clients who take part in this experience fish the wine bottles from the ocean with the assistance of a tour guide. A tour on the wine estate follows». Clients can choose to have a chauffeur or the opportunity to commute to the locations by themselves. The reasoning in actuating this is to allow for each and every client’s independence. Also, the ability to gain knowledge of their time in each destination. 

«In giving our clients the option to choose the ways in which we offer their holiday experience, we are able to accentuate their travel experience. Letting them dictate the when, where, and how of their travel. Commercial travel agencies are dissimilar to The Little Orange this way». The co-owner further affirms that locations are native to the business. Certain aspects of their offerings could mimic other travel agencies. However, de Melo explains that there are varied means to showcase an experience. «It could be a viewing of an artifact for example – which can be done by viewing it as is. We have access to scholars and archeologists that are familiar in the field. A means to offer a varied learning experience for our guests».

The Little Orange’s Future Across Portugal and Europe

The Little Orange is seeking out destinations within Portugal. Filing in a list of peers and collaborators that are intent on working with the agency to provide curated and esoteric travel encounters in the country. 

The Little Orange

R. Ivens 42, 1200-445 Lisboa, Portugal

The Little Orange is a Portuguese DMC providing exclusive travel experiences and high-end accommodation – Villas & Hotels – across the country

Pravin Nair

The writer does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article.

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check and buy on Prototipo Store
item collections in limited edition
crafted according to our editorial search

Hemp / made in Italy
Lampoon is working to restore
Hemp production in Italy
as hemp is the one and only
natural vegetal fiber sourceable in the country
for more info, please email us at [email protected]

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