Portugal – retaining the 22nd spot for the third year running – offers a rare, but welcomed, sense of hope in Europe at a time when pessimism reigns supreme on the continent. Now half a decade out from its financial crisis, a combination of prudent economic policy and a stimulated job market has seen Portugal, for a second year, earn top marks from credit rating agencies which have also been reflected in stable foreign investment interest. Should Prime Minister António Costa’s alliance continue to invest in the sciences and other sectors like public transportation, the Portuguese miracle may continue to direct the country’s fortunes towards even stronger success.
With the beauty of its landscapes, wonderful weather and broad range of leisure activities, it comes as no surprise that Portugal continues to be one of Europe’s strongest markets for foreign tourism, receiving 12.8 million visitors in 2018. A strategic effort by the government to invest in multiple Portuguese cities has helped to avoid overburdening a single location with tourists, and has dispersed the economic benefits that come with increased tourism.
Although Portugal’s post-eurozone crisis comeback is worthy of celebration, the country’s journey to recovery still faces mounting obstacles. August’s fuel tanker strikes over workers’ rights led to fuel rationing during peak tourism season and restricted operations at major airports, while continued demonstrations from state workers about recovering earnings lost during the eurozone crisis are likely to mar Portugal’s domestic progress.
A plateau in Portugal’s Engagement sub-index reflects the country’s lethargic involvement in the wider international community. Should Portugal want to increase its role in the international community, its proximity to European and African hubs – as well as an established Lusophone community in South America – places the country in strong standing.