Portugal has been placed on the ‘Peace Podium’ after once again climbing up the latest Global Peace Index. This comes after Portugal had risen to fifth in 2016, when it was also the country with the biggest improvement in Europe. The rankings, sent to The Portugal News on Thursday afternoon, followed hot on the heels of a survey by tourism industry leaders and experts who predicted yet another bumper year, and are expecting revenue and occupation rates to set new records.
The Global Peace Index 2017, published on Thursday, found that Portugal was now the third most peaceful country in the world.
The index found that Iceland remains the most peaceful country in the world, a position it has held since 2008.
It is joined at the top of the index by New Zealand, Portugal, Austria, and Denmark, respectively.
There was also very little change at the bottom of the index. Syria remains the least peaceful country in the world, followed by Afghanistan, Iraq, South Sudan, and Yemen.
Europe remains the most peaceful region in the world, with eight of the ten most peaceful countries coming from here. However, while 21 of the 34 countries improved, the average peace score did not change notably, due to the substantial deterioration in Turkey, and the impact of the terrorist attacks along with deteriorating relations between Russia and its Nordic neighbours.
But many of the core EU countries recorded substantial deteriorations, including Italy, France and Spain. Increased perceived levels of corruption within the political elite, rising inequality in wealth, deterioration in press freedoms and media concentration, along with diminishing acceptance of the rights of others are linked to many of the issues populist parties have successfully capitalised on.
Possibly connected to Portugal’s strong showing in the peace stakes, is news that the tourism industry is once again bracing for unprecedented success this year.
This is based on survey results released by the Tourist Planning and Development Institute (IPDT) for the month of May, which showed that confidence levels are the highest on record.
The confidence index climbed to 84.3 percent in May, according to the figures released on 1 June, with the IPDT president António Jorge Costa saying that 2017 would almost certainly see new tourism records being set.
“More than three-quarters of respondents said summer 2017 will beat last year in terms of revenue, occupancy and the number of tourists”, the IPDT chief said.
Major tourism indicators should also rise in the coming six months, with China leading the growth among international markets. Strong performances are further expected from the French, German and American markets.
On a domestic level, Portuguese are anticipating spending more on their travels this year, especially over the summer months.
This comes in the same week that it was revealed that the consumer confidence of Portuguese has climbed to highest level on record.
This was not without good cause, as it came on the heels of news that dole queues in Portugal had shrunk to their lowest numbers since February 2009.
The jobless rate in Portugal now stands at 9.8 percent, and is expected to be reduced even further in the coming months as the growing economy, and strong tourism season, sees more unemployed people find work.
Portugal’s National Statistics Institute (INE) further confirmed that the country’s Gross Domestic Product had swelled by one percent during the first three months of the year in relation to the final quarter of 2016, while year-on-year growth was up 2.8 percent, representing the biggest rise in the country’s most significant economic indicator in a decade.
According to the INE, the growth during the first quarter of the year was mostly driven by strong exports, while capital spending also accelerated.