Log in

Login to your account

Username *
Password *
Remember Me

Create an account

Fields marked with an asterisk (*) are required.
Name *
Username *
Password *
Verify password *
Email *
Verify email *
Captcha *

Portugal's tourism boom is all down to the government's 'smart strategy'

alentejoPortugal’s Prime Minister has denied that the country’s impressive growth in tourism is anything to do with "problems in other regions of the world," stating that the recent good results are due to the smart strategy of the government which has been putting its promotional effort into developing out-of-season tourism.

"Some think that this growth is cyclical and due to problems existing in other regions of the world. I think it is an unjust statement," António Costa said at the 4th Internal Tourism Forum in Leiria.

Costa said the data shows the Portugal’s growth has been in the out-of-season months and that the troubled countries such as Egypt and Turkey, all are places renowned for ‘sun and sand’ holidays.

"Where we have had a stronger and significant growth in tourism is precisely in the areas that do not focus on sun and sand. This is a result of a strategy pursued over more than ten years, an investment in training, the creation of new routes, an intelligent strategy to promote and diversify our tourism offer," said the ever-smiling one.

"The figures in this sense are very clear and show that tourism has tripled in the regions, especially outside sun and beach areas and that the great challenge now is to pursue the objective of diversifying and combating the seasonality of our offer,” said Costa, adding that it’s not just down to foreigners and that the internal tourism market should be added to the mix when devising policy.

"We have increasingly to look at our market as one, not of 10 million inhabitants, but of 60 million consumers," said the PM, keen to increase tourism from Spain.

"In fact, 50% of overnight stays in Portugal are Portuguese and Spanish. This is the size of our internal market," concluded António Costa who did emphasise the importance of road and rail links with Spain but did not mention the disincentive for Spanish tourists arriving through Andalucía when faced with the A22 Via do Infante motorway across the Algarve, not only due to the cost of tolls but also to do with the multitude of ingenious, yet irritating, payment methods.

At the Luso-Spanish Summit in Vila Real earlier this week, a protocol aimed at cooperation between Spain and Portugal was signed. This covered religious routes, protected natural spaces and wine tourism with both countries now committed to developing joint initiatives to develop the Camino de Santiago and the Caminhos de Fátima.

For the Minister of the Economy, this "is an important moment in the joint promotion of complementary tourism in the two countries. Taking into account that the Portuguese route to Santiago already is the second most popular route used by pilgrims and that part of it is the same as the Fátima route, so joint promotion is planned in strategic and distant markets such as South Korean and North America. This makes perfect sense."

This may only have made sense to Minister, Manuel Caldeira Cabral, who is clearly keen to embark on an expenses paid trip to Korea and the US, but failed, as did the prime minister, even to discuss the current row over the development of Spain’s Almaraz nuclear power station which was due to be closed but now is being expanded.

By concentrating on religious walks and wine tourism, the Portuguese politicians involved proved yet again to be sheep-like, malleable Europeans at the beck and call of Brussels where Jean-Claude Juncker insisted the cross-border nuclear complaint against Spain be dropped on the grounds of neighbourly relations.

To clarify the position between Portugal and Spain, the EC issued this press release about Almaraz

"European Commission - Statement
Joint Statement of President Juncker, Prime Minister Rajoy and Prime Minister Costa on the amicable settlement concerning the Almaraz case

Brussels, 21 February 2017

Following our meeting in Malta on 3 February 2017, on the initiative of President Juncker, we have reached an amicable settlement on the Almaraz case.

We consider that, in view of the immense economic, social and geopolitical challenges the European Union is facing at the moment, we should concentrate our efforts on dealing with these challenges. In this spirit, disputes between Member States who traditionally are allies, should be solved swiftly in a consensual and cooperative manner.

The amicable settlement, which is attached to this Joint Statement, engages Spain and Portugal in a constructive consultation process and dialogue allowing for a solution to the ongoing dispute on the construction of the nuclear waste landfill at the Almaraz nuclear power station. In this context, a joint visit to the site, with the participation of the Commission, is taking place in the coming days. The visit and the consultation process will allow the parties to examine and take into account legitimate concerns on the project and to agree on proportionate measures to address them.

As a result, Portugal commits to withdraw its complaint against Spain, introduced on 16 January 2017, under Article 259 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

In addition, we agree to accelerate the work of the High Level Group on Interconnections for South West Europe to develop the necessary gas and electricity interconnection projects connecting Portugal and Spain, as well as the Iberian Peninsula with the European markets. This will increase Europe's security of energy supply, improve the reliability of the electricity system, improve the quality of service and reduce productivity losses in the commercial and industrial sectors.

We consider that this outcome is proof of the pragmatic cooperation and problem-solving spirit of the European Union. We are looking forward to working together with the other Members of the European Council, to deepen the European Union further during 2017, notably on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome.

ANNEX: Amicable settlement concerning the Almaraz case

On the initiative of President Jean-Claude Juncker and following his meeting with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain and Prime Minister António Costa of Portugal in Malta on 3 February 2017, the following amicable settlement was reached:

Spain will:

a) share with Portugal all relevant environmental and nuclear safety information and provide, as appropriate, all the relevant information, with a view to ascertain the inexistence of significant effects of the project on Portuguese territory.

b) organise a visit as soon as possible of the Portuguese authorities to the site, presenting the technology and its proposed safety features as well as all necessary sharing of information and clarification meetings. The European Commission – representatives of President Juncker's Cabinet and of Directorates-General of Environment and Energy at senior level – will be invited to join.

c) neither issue nor implement the authorisation for the operation of the nuclear waste reservoir until the examination by the Portuguese authorities of the relevant information and the visit is carried out. The visit and the information exchange will take place in the next two months. During this period of time, Spain will refrain from taking any measures that could be considered as irreversible by any of the parties to the settlement, or that could prejudge the outcome of the consultation of Portugal. Instead, the time should be used to examine and take into account, in good faith and with a constructive spirit, any legitimate concern raised by Portugal with regard to the project; and to consider, in the interest of good neighbourly relations, any proportionate measure that would help in addressing the legitimate concerns expressed by Portugal.

Portugal will:

a) commit, in light of the contacts established towards a friendly settlement, to withdraw its current complaint under Article 259 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), without prejudice to the possibility to make use of Article 259 TFEU in the future.

In addition, the parties agree to accelerate, jointly with the European Commission, the work of the High Level Group on Interconnections for South West Europe to develop the necessary gas and electricity interconnection projects connecting Portugal and Spain, as well as the Iberian Peninsula with the European markets. This will increase Europe's security of energy supply, improve the reliability of the electricity system, improve the quality of service and reduce productivity losses in the commercial and industrial sectors.

Ambitious levels of interconnection will help Europe, thanks to the optimisation of the system that will lead to a reduction of fuel imports and of the price of energy.

Pin It

Comments  

-1 #4 Ed 2017-06-02 22:23
Quoting Cara:
If the editor would like to stand over what he/she has wrote in the above statement, then the editor Should print exactly what is printed in the EU press release. As contributors are printing incorrect information and giving the impression that the EU are the bad guys.
I have printed the press release in full which shows that the trade off was "we agree to accelerate the work of the High Level Group on Interconnections for South West Europe to develop the necessary gas and electricity interconnection projects connecting Portugal and Spain, as well as the Iberian Peninsula with the European markets."
Juncker did not want any dissent within the ranks and saw Portugal's legitimmate complaint as inconveniently timed while he faces Brexit negotiations and nationalist movements gaining power across Europe.
Are you saying Portugal's complaint was not legitimate? If it was legitimate then why has it been withdrawn so lightly.
Did Juncker not pressure Portugal into accepting a weak promise to 'accellerate' connections?
The Iberian electricity supply to northern Europe is blocked by the french at the Pyrenees. This is hardly a 'new' project and one that has frustrate the EC for decades. Promising to 'accellerate' negotiations is no compensation at all and is something the EC should have addressed years ago.
-1 #3 Carlos G 2017-06-02 11:05
Quoting Cara:
Again read,

"europa.eu rapid press release 21st feb 2017 portugal and spain nuclear"

People can make up there own mind on this subject.

This press release just shows the position Portugal government was placed under. "Drop the complaint and come up with a whitewashed report to show all is well."
The editor is right to say this was a politcal move by Juncker who can not have EU countries arguing when Brexit is happening.
-1 #2 BrianYoung 2017-06-02 11:02
Quoting Cara:
I find the last paragraph of the above statement truly shocking in its condescending attitude to the political life of portugal. I would suggest that people should read European Commission press release in relation to the joint statement of Costa and Rahoy Feb 2017 at europa.eu before agreeing with the above item.

Spain will:
a) "share with Portugal all relevant environmental and nuclear safety information and provide, as appropriate, all the relevant information, with a view to ascertain the inexistence of significant effects of the project on Portuguese territory."
(Spain withheld many key documents on the grounds of commercial and national sensitivity. The remit limted to 'to ascertain the inexistence of significant effects' does not allow the reporting of the 'existence' of such threats.)

b) "organise a visit as soon as possible of the Portuguese authorities to the site, presenting the technology and its proposed safety features as well as all necessary sharing of information and clarification meetings." (No specialist environmental organisations were allowed to visit yet the report said they had been 'consulted' - which they deny)
-1 #1 BrianYoung 2017-06-02 07:51
Quoting Cara:
I find the last paragraph of the above statement truly shocking in its condescending attitude to the political life of portugal. I would suggest that people should read European Commission press release in relation to the joint statement of Costa and Rahoy Feb 2017 at europa.eu before agreeing with the above item.


I think Ed is being truthful, not condescending.

Portugal was pressured into withdrawing its legitimate complaint under cross-border EU rules.

The environmental assesssment was a whitewash with lies in the accompanying statement.

The grilling of the two ministers in parliament displayed their shameful collusion in this cover-up.

The concealment of the nuclear accident simulation sums up the State's attitude to 800,000 of her citizens.

The Iberian conference we have just had did not even discuss Almaraz despite the topic being spread across Portugal's news media due mainly to the spineless stance of its government that rolled over for jean-Claude Juncker who squashed the complaint for his personal political reasons.

If Portugal's government can not stand up for its citizens, who will? There is no Father Christmas.

The original complaint over Almaraz should be resumbitted and Portugal government should display some backbone.

You must be a registered user to make comments.
Please register here to post your comments.