Tourism worker concerns ahead of busy summer // Parliament votes again for euthanasia legalisation
Portuguese news in English on Saturday, June 11, 2022.
By the numbers
Note: I’ll be away for the next two weeks. I’ll be sure to let you know if anything major comes up regarding COVID-19, but otherwise I’ll see you when I’m back.
Tourism worker concerns ahead of busy summer
As Portugal’s tourism sector awaits a much-hoped-for return to pre-pandemic levels of demand, the hotel industry fears inflation and a lack of workers could hamper success, Dinheiro Vivo reports. The Portuguese Hotel Association says the tourism industry is short 45,000 workers this summer, with 15,000 in hotels alone. It’s calling on the government to make hiring foreign workers easier and reduce hiring costs. The industry says hotel prices could increase 10% this year compared with 2019. Diário de Notícias reports accommodation occupation in the Algarve in April was up 650% on last year and looks at what’s being done, and what more locals want, to reinforce health services as the population doubles or triples in summer. Público has an interesting look at Portugal’s air traffic, showing there are still fewer air links and flights through Lisbon, Porto and Faro, while traffic and routes have increased to the Azores and Madeira.
Parliament votes again for euthanasia legalisation
Portugal’s Parliament has again voted in favour of legalising euthanasia, kick-starting a third attempt to get the legislation past the President, Público reports. Politicians had twice approved similar legislation but saw it once vetoed by President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and once rejected by the Constitutional Court, after a presidential referral. The politicians voted 128-88 with five abstentions in favour of a Socialist Party bill to decriminalise medically assisted dying. They will now work to combine four similar proposals into one bill that can gain de Sousa’s approval, who criticised an earlier version for “excessively undefined concepts”.
Portuguese workers among worst-hit by inflation
The average Portuguese worker will suffer among the worst falls in purchasing power in the developed world this year, Dinheiro Vivo reports. According to OECD figures, Portugal’s inflation surge (6.3%) isn’t as serious as in Poland (11%), Holland (9%) or the United Kingdom (9%). But the projected wage increase for the average worker sits at only 2.9%, the third lowest in Europe behind Denmark (2.%) and Switzerland (1.2%). That means in effect, the average worker goes backwards 3.5% in terms of purchasing power, or “real wages”, worse than the Eurozone average and 10th worst out of 33 in the OECD.
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Lack of water brings causes Spain to reduce water flows to Portugal. The catchment of Guadiana River, which runs through the Alentejo and Algarve, is in the worst drought since 1996. Spanish dams in the region are at 30% but Portugal’s massive Alqueva dam still has 76%. (Público)
Construction work in Lisbon more expensive than Barcelona or Madrid. A Cushman & Wakefield study found remodelling an office in the capital cost, on average €1000/m2, in line with Rome or Milan and much higher than the €825 in the big Spanish cities. (Dinheiro Vivo)
Madeira to study possibility of creating its own cryptocurrency. The government quickly rejected an earlier claim it was set to launch a coin called Osean, pegged to the Euro, but said it would spend $100,000 to study possibilities. (Público)
On a lighter note
After two years of saudades, Lisbon’s mammoth June street parties are back. So get yourself ready for sardines, street beers and pimba music because tomorrow is the noite de Santo António, colloquially known as Lisbon’s longest night. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, that’s ok because my lovely partner (and sub-editor) Daniela Sunde-Brown has a new blog covering everything you need to know about it, which I have actually remembered to link to this time.