Economist advocates luring Chinese to Portuguese countryside

Portuguese economist and former economy minister Augusto Mateus has said attracting Chinese and people from other emerging economies to visit the rural parts of Portugal could increase tourism in the countryside fourfold in the next decade, Lusa reports.

The Portuguese news agency says one conclusion of a study by Mr Mateus is that Portugal should look beyond the European market to the middle classes of emerging economies such as Brazil, Russia and China as sources of tourists.

The report quotes Mr Mateus as saying in an interview that tourism in the Portuguese countryside should give visitors “experiences with identity, with culture, with tradition”.

Mr Mateus said tourism in the countryside could help revive abandoned villages, give an economic boost to the impoverished Portuguese interior and – by maintaining the countryside as a tourist attraction – preserve the environment.