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Dependent on tourism, the Portuguese economy shaken by the Covid-19 pandemic

By Marie Charrel

Posted today at 11:00 a.m.

The blow is harsh, but he assures his relatives that all is well. “Really, yes: I’ll turn the page. ” A few weeks ago, Bruno Gomes sold the Jeep with which his small tourism company organized tours in Lisbon. Black, decorated with a few white patterns, she was his mascot: it was behind the wheel that he started his activity in 2010, at the heart of the debt crisis, after losing his job as a designer. “In the process, tourism exploded: we recruited guides, opened a branch in Porto, these were good years”, he says.

Dependent on tourism, the Portuguese economy shaken by the Covid-19 pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic brought his adventure to an abrupt halt. During the first confinement, in March 2020, he and his five employees saw reservations collapse. “A disaster: the tourists have evaporated. “ The team held out until the fall, before resolving to put the business on hiatus. Bruno, he packed his bags for the Azores. To move on, with odd jobs. Despite everything, he hopes to be able to put together tours for tourists on this Portuguese archipelago as soon as the health situation allows. “Starting all over again, like ten years ago: that’s how it is. I want to believe it. “

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In 2020, the Portuguese economy was one of the hardest hit in Europe by the pandemic, with a declining gross domestic product (GDP) of 9.3%, according to the forecasts of the European Commission, against – 7.4% in the whole of the European Union (EU). If the country stood out for its good control of the first wave, it has been facing a dizzying resurgence in recent weeks.

Populist rhetoric

Faced with the saturation of hospitals, Socialist Prime Minister Antonio Costa reconfigured the country and its roughly 10 million inhabitants on January 15 for at least a month – only essential businesses remain open. “Under these conditions, it will be difficult to avoid a further plunge in the economy”, says Jesus Castillo, specialist in Portugal at Natixis. The year 2021 promises to be more difficult than anticipated a few weeks ago by the government.

Forty-five years after the end of the Salazarist dictatorship, the far right has returned to parliament, with André Ventura’s party, Chega

This reconfinement shook up the campaign for the presidential election on Sunday January 24. In order to avoid crowds, the Portuguese were able to start voting in advance on January 17. At first glance, the ballot promises to be without a stake: amateur of selfies with passers-by, the outgoing center-right president, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, with representative functions, is guaranteed to be reelected. In recent months, a man has nevertheless been playing spoilers on the Portuguese political scene, so far spared by the populist wave: André Ventura.

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