LISBON (Reuters) – Portugal’s tourism boom has made the industry one of the biggest contributors to the national economy and the largest employer, with almost 1 million direct and indirect jobs, the head of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) said.
Portugal has long been popular for its beaches, historic sites and golf courses, but tourism has broken records in the past few years after government and businesses looked to the sector as an engine of growth after the 2011-14 debt crisis.
Gloria Guevara, the president of the WTTC, told Reuters Portugal was already in the top five most-visited countries in Europe, and now “they should make sure that they continue as one of the top five”.
That includes investment on infrastructure such as potentially a new Lisbon airport.
Portugal’s tourism sector was set to grow further, thanks to a “very rich culture, amazing gastronomy,” and its geographic position with a long coastline and sunny climate.