Cruise tourism has enormous potential for the country's economic growth

 "Tourism today has a huge weight in our economic activity, but there is still a lot to give", representing 7% of GDP and 18% of exports, "which means that there is still potential to strengthen the weight of this sector", said First -Minister António Costa, at the inauguration of the cruise terminal in Lisbon, where the Minister of the Sea , Ana Paula Vitorino , was also present . 


The Prime Minister stressed the need for "policies to increase the attractiveness of tourism through the diversification of supply that opposes seasonality", to show that Portugal is not just a destination for sun and beach.


"On the contrary, it is possible for tourism to generate wealth 365 days a year, such as congress tourism, with Websummit," added António Costa, referring to the world's largest technological summit, which ran for the second consecutive year in Lisbon , from 6 to 9 November.


Exemplary case of Leixões


The Prime Minister said: "Cruise tourism also has enormous potential for growth. In the last decade, this activity increased by 62% worldwide and continues to expand, representing a small share of the national tourism. With our geo-strategic position, we must take advantage of this trend. " 


"The sustained growth of cruise tourism in the port of Leixões has been exemplary," added António Costa, adding that "with the new cruise terminal, the number of passengers moved in the first half of 2017 increased by 50%". "Lisbon only has to imitate the Port, the Country has only to gain in the valuation of this offer", he said.


The Prime Minister underlined the innovation of the Public Administration in this area - through the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) - which controls the passengers coming from destinations outside the Schengen area, the SEF inspectors embarking on the previous port, which saves passengers time after the berth.


Revitalize the interior 


António Costa also said that the revitalization of Baixa-Chiado in the last 10 years shows that "we are not condemned to any fatality in the territory of the Country". 


"If it was possible to revitalize Baixa-Chiado and reappropriate the riverside front of Lisbon in the last decade, we will also be able, over the next 10 years, to do the same in the depressed areas of the country, since long in the interior," he added.


The Prime Minister said: "What we have to do is revitalize the entire interior strip of the country, which is - in fact - the region closest to the heart of the Iberian market, platform of a small economy of 10 million Portuguese, to 60 million of people ", in the whole of Portugal and Spain. 


Investing in infrastructure requires stability


"This project is an excellent example of the importance of policy continuity and the stability of decisions," said António Costa, noting that this project "started when the commissariat of the revitalization of Baixa-Chiado [2006] to bring from Alcantara to the city center this cruise terminal. 


Approved the project in 2007, "means that, over three governments, corresponding to four municipalities, it was possible to start a heavy infrastructure project, open the tender for the construction and concession of this terminal [2014], and it is now possible to be here, finally, to inaugurate it, "added the Prime Minister.


"This should help the country to understand why it is essential to have extensive political agreements on infrastructure investments to ensure their continuity," he concluded. 

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