Doha, Qatar: The tourism potential between Qatar and Portugal is a dormant source of bilateral income and investment for both sides, Chairman of the Portuguese Business Council (PBC), Francisco De Sousa, has said.

Speaking to The Peninsula during the just-concluded Project Qatar, De Sousa said there is much to be gained by both countries if tourism is promoted.

“A lot of Portuguese people go abroad in the winter to Brazil, Cape Verde, Mozambique, and other places to have fun. They could also come to Qatar, and Qatar could be a good destination and people from Qatar can go to Portugal,” De Sousa said.

“Usually, people from Qatar go to the south of Spain, but nobody goes to south of Portugal. Though very few have, they love it because it’s quieter and calm,” he said, adding that reinstating direct flights from Qatar to Portugal would further boost tourism and increase business returns.

According to De Sousa, despite a significant trade level between both countries, more could still be done to increase the volume and variety of imports and exports. Last year, Qatar and Portugal’s bilateral trade volume was reported to grow by 60% from QR467m in 2020 to QR751m in 2021. The main products exported by Portugal to Qatar were machinery, vehicles and electrical equipment, while Qatari exports to Portugal were aluminium, mineral fuels and oils.

“There is a lot of trade happening already between Qatar and Portugal. We have over 200 Portuguese companies in food and beverage sector that could come here and sell. If you go to the supermarket, you find very few products. So there is a huge potential here to do business,” De Sousa stressed.

The PBC, established in Qatar in 2016, aims to raise bilateral relations between Portugal and Qatar, in the economic and cultural fields, and offer support and help to relevant organisations of both countries.

Commenting on the PBC’s role in facilitating trade and investment, De Sousa said, “The government of Portugal has set the platform to inform about the different opportunities. What we do more is complement that to try to help the investors and create synergies. So if an investor here with a fund wants to invest in different companies, they tell us what kind of companies they are looking for, whether a high or a quick return, and then we look into it.”

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