Welcome to the Week em Breve! This week in Portugal: Digital Disrupters, Sustainable Stores, Headline Surfers, and much more.
Tourists Are Everywhere, and So Is Their Money
A study on tourism in the EU found that it directly accounts for 9% of Portugal’s GDP, second only to Spain’s 11%. This is high not only compared to EU countries, but developed countries as a whole. Furthermore, the study found that in 2017 there was a record number of foreign tourists in Portugal. As if we needed a study to tell us that.
To Airbnb, or Not to Airbnb, That Is The Question
Despite this reliance on tourism, there is set to be new legislation for alojamento local—such as rentals on AirBnB—in June. There is currently a working group, and there will be decisions such as whether a condominium has a say in the short-term rental of properties. Many blame these holiday lets for the house price boom, but the government doesn’t see this as a bad thing. It is unlikely that Lisbon will follow in Berlin’s footsteps with an outright ban, but it will be interesting to see how this huge growth in holiday lets is dealt with.
Uber and Cabify Are Here to Stay
It seems a constant battle, apps vs established institutions and traditional sectors. While the government is discussing how to deal with Airbnb, another digital disrupter, Uber, seems to have been given the green light. President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa vetoed the recent regulations for platforms like Uber and Cabify, allowing them to continue operating in the country. While this isn’t an endorsement, and also included a call to modernize taxi regulation, it is interesting to see how Portugal is handling this influx of tech.
Honey, I Shrunk the Population
The population of Portugal has decreased for the ninth year in a row. This has been put down to the number of deaths outstripping the number of births in the country. RTP takes a very short look at the stats, and interestingly also includes the fact that 54.9% of births were out of wedlock in 2017. Staying rather traditional in your reporting there, RTP.
Have You Got the Bottle to Go Green?
Portugal seems in flux, one month relying on renewable energy, the next winning an award for the worst subsidies for oil exploration. But, it seems there is a slow crawl toward sustainability, and Pingo Doce has jumped on the bandwagon with its introduction of the ECO bottle. You buy the bottle for €1, and then refill it with 3L of purified water for 18 cents in the store. It is currently being trialed at three stores around Lisbon, but may soon be seen everywhere.
Firefighting Records Missing From Audit
Following the large fires in Portugal, an internal audit was ordered from the Autoridade Nacional da Proteção Civil. The auditors have stated that there were serious flaws in the initial response in Pedrógão Grande, and that paperwork is now missing. Both digital and paper copies of various documents have reportedly been deleted or destroyed, which stops the auditors determining who, if anyone, was responsible for the problems in the first response.
Nazaré Stays in the Spotlight With New Record Wave Surfed
In some lighter news, surfers have rushed into the headlines twice this week! Firstly, the record for the biggest wave surfed was broken by Brazilian surfer Rodrigo Koxa. This was in Nazaré last November and was just announced with a World Surfing League award. On the flip side, four French tourists were rescued off of Matosinhos beach. They got swept out by a current, but thanks to the quick intervention of Serviço de Salvamento Balnear everyone came back tired but otherwise uninjured. All’s well that ends well!