Portugal PM calls on tourism investment drive in UK

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Portugal’s Prime Minister, António Costa has called on a Portuguese tourism investment drive aimed at the UK because of Brexit.

The prime minister launched his appeal at the National Congress of the Hotel Business and Tourism in Lisbon on Thursday.

The sector claims that if the Portuguese economy is doing well then that is largely down to tourism.

António Costa welcomed the positive numbers but said more needed to be done because of Brexit.

“When the UK government approved an outline agreement yesterday (Wednesday) for the exit of the UK from the EU, we all know that it is essential to focus on the specific task of promoting Portugal’s tourism industry in the UK market which historically is the main issuing market for tourism to Portugal, and where, be that from the devaluation of the pound, or for other reasons, we have already been experiencing some reduction in demand for Portugal as a holiday destination from the British market” said António Costa.

The prime minister said that the State Budget for 2019 has extra funds earmarked for promoting Portugal overseas markets like the UK.

At this 13th hotel and tourism congress, António Costa threw down a number of gauntlets to Portuguese business leaders including a “new credit line aimed exclusively at the tourism sector — ‘Capitalisar Turismo’ worth €130 million.

The Government has also created a new credit line in support of environmental sustainability in the tourism area.

The Portuguese Secretary of State for Tourism issued her own ‘project fear’ for Portuguese tourism stating that British holidaymakers were putting off holiday plans due to the uncertainty and consequences of Brexit.

Speaking at an event last week in London, Godinho said that, “No one knows the impact (Brexit may have) on the devaluation of the pound but Britain will almost certainly be hedging their bets over the plans for the summer.”

Part of the answer to that question came on Thursday when the pound lost almost 2% of its value on the money markets against the Euro and the US dollar as it became clear that British Prime Minister Theresa May risked losing the support of her cabinet and parliament over the announced deal and faced a no-confidence vote from her own party.

António Costa had met with former British prime minister Tony Blair at his official residence of São Bento during the Web Summit where the consequences of the UK’s eventual withdrawal from the EU was on the table for discussion.

According to an official source, the meeting lasted around 40 minutes and, in addition to Brexit, the main issues facing the European Union were also discussed.

Tony Blair, who is strongly opposed to Brexit, is currently head of the Global Change foundation, met with António Costa on 7 November.