Edition 1479
16 June 2018
Edition: 1479

Read this week's issue online exactly as it appears in print.

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Spotlight on Central Portugal

by Carrie-Marie Bratley, in News · 01-03-2018 13:08:00 · 3 Comments

Portugal’s Prime Minister António Costa has this week called for all people to “visit and invest in the Central Region”, which was devastated by the deadly fires that tore through the country last year, while also thanking the many thousands of workers in Portugal’s national tourism industry.

Spotlight on Central Portugal

Speaking at the inauguration of the yearly BTL tourism trade show in Lisbon, the Prime Minister stressed that Central Portugal “was the region worst affected by the natural tragedies that hit the country last summer.”
Describing the Central Region as “an excellent tourism destination”, António Costa said investing in that region is “helping to give a new life and revitalise a territory that was massacred by the calamities” of last year, in which more than 100 people died in wildfires.
Given recent information that Portugal has had “the best economic growth since the beginning of the century”, coupled with “one of the lowest unemployment rates of the last decade”, the Prime Minister argued the need to “continue cherishing tourism” so that the country can continue to grow, increase its exports, and create “more and better jobs”.
In his speech, the Prime Minister also thanked all professionals in the country’s tourism sector for their “excellent contribution towards development”.
The BTL is the largest business platform for the tourism sector in Portugal, and is held in Lisbon’s riverside Park of Nations area.
Central Portugal was this year’s BTL ‘National Guest Destination’, and was given a stand in a privileged location at the event, which runs until Sunday.
Spain is currently the Central Region’s main tourist source market; although recent figures show American, Brazilian and Asian visitors are all rising markedly. 
According to provisional figures from the National Statistics Institute (INE), based on data from 2017, 1.40 million foreigners visited that region last year, accounting for 2.76 million nights spent therein, the majority by Spanish nationals.
The year 2017 was a record-setting year for Portugal in terms of tourism, with tourist-generated revenue having exceeded €15 billion, or a spending of around €41 million per day.
The sector also welcomed a record-breaking number of tourists, at close to 22 million visitors.
Meanwhile, while the Central Region and other parts of Portugal are endeavouring to get back on their feet following last year’s tragic wildfires, some local authorities have criticised a new law that stipulates all landowners must clean their land before 15 March or face fines, with councils having to step in if they fail to do so.
News site Observador reports the Mayor of Loures (greater Lisbon) has said it is “impossible” to comply with the new law and accused the government of shunting the responsibility onto councils.
Bernardino Soares said that in order to comply with the new land-cleaning law, his municipality would need around four million euros, a budget that “we do not have”, nor would it be possible within the timeframe stipulated.
However, he noted that Loures “has done everything in its power to contribute to the prevention of fires in the county”.
According to the new law, property owners have to carry out land-cleaning around buildings in rural areas. 
Failing to do so, local councils have until the end of May to step in.

Comments

We wanted to spend at least a week in Central Portugal, but decided against it because our car certainly can't outrun a voracious fire. In most countries there are defined firebreaks and landowners and councils should have worked together alot harder many years ago,so it is with great disappointment I view that they can't or it's impossible. Together they could have saved hundreds of lives, but whose fault is it really. Why are the EU just giving money to help after the fact? Instead of just recognising Portugal's fine efforts to boost EU coffers once more, why don't they provide the euros for the firebreaks to save lives and subsequently, over time, receive the benefits of a more prosperous Portugal.
We are going to the Azores instead for our anniversary!
by Paul Johnson from Algarve on 03-03-2018 10:37:00
It might help attract more people to Central Portugal if the Prime Minister abolished tolls.
by Barrie from Other on 02-03-2018 05:01:00
An excellent idea, but without decent public transport infrastructure it could be self defeating. I am thinking particulalry of the train service between Coimbra, Miranda do Corvo, Lousa which still hasn't been resolved. The government needs to commit to making this and other such links a priority.
by Lee from Other on 02-03-2018 01:35:00

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Edition 1479
16 June 2018
Edition: 1479

Read this week's issue online exactly as it appears in print.

Twitter