Using The Economic Crisis To Feel Better About Yourself And Travel
The global economic crisis is having a worldwide impact. It has devastated many economies and made life immeasurably more difficult for many people across many countries.
However, the Chinese word for “crisis” is composed of “danger” and “opportunity” and as morally questionable as it may seem the downturn in some countries may provide opportunities for some. These may range from improved business prospects to increased tourism.
Over the past couple of years, travel agents have repeatedly pointed out that traditionally popular holiday destinations like Britain, France and Italy have experienced fewer foreign visitor numbers. This is in part due to the residents of countries like Greece, Spain and Portugal choosing to stay at home. But staying at home is not the same as having no holiday at all.
Indeed, the Portuguese travel and tourism industry has shown strong resilience. This is in part due to the diminishing purchasing power of Portuguese citizens forcing them to reconsider their options. Increasingly, they are choosing instead to spend their Euro on rediscovering the wonders of their own country. Not only does this provide financial support to their own nation, it also helps to instil a reinvigorated sense of pride to its badly bruised psyche.
Billionaire Nicolas Berggruen and two Portuguese businessmen plan to spend one billion Euros buying property in Portugal. They plan to pick up office buildings, hotels and parking lots in the ailing country. However this is a long-term scheme and is not a quick cash fix. They forecast property prices falling this year by as much as 15% therefore providing potential bargains for those who believe that the economy will soon start to gain strength again.
Indeed it is a fine time for those with money to burn as Portuguese banks are keen to sell off their assets and repossessed real estate, including offices and warehouses, at massive discounts. As such, there are plans afoot to redevelop many former businesses into resorts and holiday attractions.
Living like a Millionaire on Middle-Income Prices
The Four Seasons Country Club in Quinta do Lago is another example of a luxurious opportunity available to those on a modest income. The Four Seasons Country Club is famed for its high quality reputation and lavish tastes. Hong Kong’s Four Seasons Country Club and resort boasts the world’s only hotel to house two three-starred Michelin restaurants. A Four Seasons penthouse was the most expensive condo ever sold in Canada; it sold for $28 million.
The Four Seasons Country Club in Portugal comprises of a number of one and two bedroom town houses on a private estate. The resort offers executive golf packages, private beaches, beauty salons, spas and most importantly of all, peace and quiet. But given the economic downturn in Portugal and the strong pound, travellers can easily book a holiday at a luxury resort, indulge in some retail therapy and spoil themselves with excellent cuisine for a fraction of the price they would expect to pay in richer times.
The Necessity of Foreign Tourism
Some political pundits in Portugal have even suggested that foreign tourism is “essential” for Portugal to exit financial crisis. According to the European Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, António Tajani, attracting Europeans from less cash-strapped countries would be a useful strategy for Portugal to leverage its national assets to help them generate income to ease themselves out of debt.
Germans, French and British tourists, although all bitten by the crunch, still have enough spare cash (and the inclination) to snap up a good holiday bargain to sunnier climes should the opportunity arise. However, reports of domestic turmoil, riots and protests may ultimately scupper the changes of the country to assure prospective investors (be they business or tourist visitors) that Portugal will happily take their money in exchange for sunshine.
Steven Capocci is a writer who believes that resorts such as the Four Seasons Country Club, who offer reasonably priced accommodation, should be researched as a potential holiday destination. Because of Portugal’s financial issues, places like this are offering great deals to foreign tourists.