MORE THAN 100 delegates attended the third annual conference on Portuguese Property and Tourism organised by the Portuguese Chamber in London. The conference, which was held in the auditorium of Withers Worldwide LLP in London, has grown each year in scope and size, reflecting the widening interest for tourism and residential property in Portugal.
It seems the UK’s enthusiasm for Portugal continues as 70,000 Britons own homes here and there were almost 2,000,000 visits to Portugal in 2006.
HE Mr António Santana Carlos, the Portuguese Ambassador, opened the conference, remarking on the significance of tourism and residential property to the Portuguese economy and the government’s recognition of its important benefits. Jorge Armindo Teixeira, CEO of Amorim Tourism, travelled especially from Portugal to act as chairman of the conference.
First on the podium was Luís Correia da Silva, former Secretary of State for Tourism in Portugal, who explained how projects of national importance from the private sector are recognised and promoted.
Portugal is proud of the fact that estate agents, builders and developers are carefully regulated. Cláudia Assis de Almeida, a member of the board of the government agency Instituto dos Mercados das Obras Públicas e dos Particulares do Imobiliário (IMOPPI), explained that from May, IMOPPI will be known as Instituto da Construção e do Imobiliário (InCI) and will boast a largely internet based system for applications for licences.
The recent changes which have relaxed the taxation laws on Overseas Holding Companies for property were explained by Ana Salvador Cristovao, a specialist from the Lisbon law firm Bragança Bruno & Associados.
The expanding Portuguese market has had much interest from Ireland and other EU states as well as from UK buyers, where the long alliance with Portugal has made for a happy partnership. António Silva, London director of the Portuguese Trade & Tourism Office, reinforced the high degree of tourism inflows into Portugal in his regional study of the Algarve and its continuing success.
Paul Donoughue, director of special projects at Savills Plc, detailed the factors involved in making a development attractive to buyers from the UK and EIRE, and Brian Eustace, executive director of the INTA Group, analysed the reasons for Portugal’s big attraction for the golfer.
An insight into the Irish investor’s view was given by David Hanrahan of OMG Investment & Finance. He identified that, typically, an Irish investor allocation was about 71 per cent property based, with equities only 16 per cent. He also remarked on the Irish buyers’ confidence in buying off plan.
An overview of the wide range of funding options available to buyers of Portuguese property was given by Tom Foster, international mortgage adviser at Conti Financial Services, and the criteria applied by lenders in different countries.
After the conference, delegates were given an opportunity to network during a drinks’ reception sponsored by Banco Santander Totta and Banco Espírito Santo.
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