Portugal and the UK have the oldest alliance in the world — the Aliança Inglesa — and British folk everywhere are hoping that Brexit won’t shake the Anglo-Portuguese foundations too much.
It seems as if the Portuguese government is trying to stick it out: British citizens will not require visas in Portugal, even in the case of a no-deal Brexit. That’s because there’s an estimated 22,000 permanent residents in Portugal from the UK, and British citizens are the largest group of visitors to the country — 22% of all people who arrive at Portuguese airports are British. Considering that tourism is such a large sector of the economy, it makes sense for Portugal to make it as easy as possible for their biggest customers to come.
Furthermore, following the defeat of UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal in the British parliament, Portugal has made moves to secure affected businesses. The government is extending a €50 million credit line aimed at companies that trade with the UK. In theory, it will be used to help these companies adapt to new regulations as well as diversify their exports to countries other than Britain.
Additionally, the Portuguese government is planning a new marketing campaign aimed at the British. The campaign’s aim is to minimize the impact Brexit has on Portugal by convincing British tourists that they will be treated in the same way that they’ve always been with as few constraints as possible, according to Ana Mendes Godinho, Secretary of State of Tourism.
The impact of Brexit on Portuguese businesses should not be underplayed, with a Confederação Empresarial de Portugal study carried out by Ernst & Young finding that it could reduce exports by between 15% and 26%. Moreover, the researchers found that Brexit could have an estimated negative impact on the Portuguese GDP of between 0.5% and 1%.
The study, with the catchy title “Brexit: The Consequences for the Economy and for Portuguese Companies,” also found that the impact will vary according to industry and location. Computers, electrical equipment, and motor vehicles will be hit hard, for example, whereas forestry and fishing won’t. Furthermore, when it comes to the services sector, Brexit is expected to have the strongest negative impact on Lisbon, the Algarve, and Madeira.