Tourism performance in Portugal is not enough.”We should increase the intensity”, says PM

  • ECO News
  • 27 September 2018

The prime minister of Portugal expects the country to increase the intensity of tourism, to reach the average of the EU, in which the sector's revenue represents 10% of GDP.

There aren’t too many tourists in Portugal after all, despite the claims that point otherwise. The PM’s opinion is that tourism’s intensity should be actually increased so that it matches the EU’s average of 10% of GDP coming from tourism-related activities. The idea was defended this Thursday by the prime minister at the Parliament, and he denied that tourism would have been the cause for the real estate crisis the country is facing at the moment.

He appealed for the parliamentarians to accept the government’s proposal for social housing at lower prices in line with this. He was talking on the occasion of the Tourism Summit, which happened this Thursday in Lisbon to celebrate the World Tourism Day, stating that “instead of the idea that there are too many tourists in Portugal, I want to be clear: there aren’t. On the contrary, we should intensify tourism in the country”. He highlighted the fact that the country’s performance in tourism in the context of GDP is below the EU average, standing at 8%.

The solution is not to “ban tourism”

The prime minister also said that “the solution [for the housing crisis] is not to ban tourism”. The solution should be, instead, to bet on creating more offer and at more accessible prices, which can’t all come from the state and councils.

“I am hoping that the Parliament accepts the government’s proposal related to the accessible renting solutions, which will allow us to significantly reduce the taxes for those with stable contracts”, he stated, adding that “it will not be enough for the state and city halls to start coming up with these offers. It is essential that the proposal is accepted quickly”.

Fernando Medina, Lisbon’s Mayor, also attended the Tourism Summit, defending the same idea: “Tourism is not the root cause of the housing crisis, and therefore the solution to the latter is not to ban tourism”, he stated.

2019 will start with the application of the new legislation on tourism accommodation units, which shall balance the city’s housing situation.