A Viral Video Discusses Tourism Issues in Portugal

Photo: Nosalive.com

A video by Mariana Cabral who's known as "Bumba na Fofinha" is going viral on YouTube Portugal with more than 66,000 views recorded this morning. The comedy skit titled 5 Rules to Visit Portugal (well, 6 in fact) highlights important problems facing Portuguese neighborhoods today.

The Lisbon native who has a degree in journalism expresses her opinion about tourism in a funny manner without steering away from relevant issues. The first point she mentions is housing. She makes the valid point that there’s a housing problem in big cities which worsens with the increase in tourism. Furthermore, she believes rental prices go up in areas known to attract tourists. She presents viewers with a solution to this problem by stating the following:
"Why don't you consider investing your money here nonetheless but you consider other areas in this beautiful Portugal besides the big cities and Algarve? There are many, many incredible places in our country that are maybe in greater need of money spenders like yourselves."
The YouTuber suggests places like; Sertã, Monção, Buçaco, Paços de Ferreira, Pampilhosa da Serra, Montemor-o-Novo, Montemor-o-Velho, Vinhais, Aldeias de Xisto, Mealhada, Aveiro, Azores, Guimarães, Fundão, and Madeira.

In 2010, there was an article published in Vox Europ titled ‘Lisbon, the empty capital’. It states that rundown buildings and high prices per square meter are driving youngsters away. They were hoping that the Erasmus program would bring in a lot of foreign students.They kind of succeeded in that matter. They transformed the city into an “Erasmus City”, but the locals are still struggling. Statistics Portugal reports that In 2016, overnight stays were mainly concentrated in Metropolitan Lisbon (31.0% of the total). They’re even thinking of building another international airport in the capital.

However, this is not exclusive to Lisbon, Jornal de Notícias reports that Porto and the North have received 1.9 million tourists during the first half of 2017 which is 9% increase from last year. Many of the visitors are from the U.K, Spain, France, Holland, and Brazil (JN).

Tourism has been an ongoing issue that’s why many of the political debates this year revolved around it. In my opinion, the solution is in the hands of politicians and decision makers and not the tourists themselves. Afterall, it was investments made by the government and private corporations that brought millions of tourists to Lisbon, Porto, and Algarve. If the fundings were to spread to other areas, tourism there would also rise. Not to mention, almost all flights land in Lisbon, Porto, Faro and a few in the Azores (Thanks to Sata Airlines). This could decrease interest in remote areas of the country. Also, a lot of stunning villages in Portugal lack transportation accessibility so imagine how difficult it is to attract visitors.

A lot of locals might blame tourists for the lack of housing and the expensive real-estate which is understandable. The concentration of tourism also brings other serious problems such as traffic jams and pollution. However, like Mariana Cabral says in her video - tourism is good for Portugal’s economy. It was reported that tourists waste more money in Lisbon than in many other European capitals (Expresso, 2017). Their average daily spending is €141,81 which is higher than spending in Madrid, Vienna, and Berlin (Expresso, 2017). So if Portugal breaks the chain of centralism and invests in other parts of Portugal, it’ll do more benefit than harm for the economy and for the locals.

You can follow comedian Mariana Cabral on these links:

YouTube: Bumba na Fofinha
Instagram: @bumbanafofinha
Facebook: Bubma na Fofinha