Wealthy Incomers: Economy Boosters? Or Trojan Horses Bent On Plunder?

illustration of soldiers exiting a Trojan horse

Countries, states, and cities, be careful what you wish for! Wealthy foreigners may boost your economy by dropping a trail of cash across companies linked to tourism. Ask Portugal, a European country with an attractive climate, scenic landscape, a vibrant, historic culture and a dependency on tourist dollars.

If its booming foreign tourism is such a benefit, then why is Portugal moving to close down creation of more Airbnb-type tourist cash-extractors? Sure it’s fine for the economy, but Portugal is a hot tourist destination because prices are reasonable. Those reasonable prices translate to low citizen earnings, while the profitability of Airbnb renting takes more and more housing off an affordable market, out of reach of increasing numbers of citizens.

Portugal is finding Airbnb-style rentals as much as a curse as a benefit.

Meanwhile, the country is facing another crisis of its own making. Imagining, quite correctly, that foreigners might be interested in becoming Portuguese citizens. Local investment is currently the price of gaining a Portuguese passport. Sure enough, newly minted citizens have been investing, except . . .

The business that is attracting much of the newbie citizen investment is buying and selling Portuguese real estate, compounding the country’s overpriced housing problems.

Is there food for thought here for countries and regions and communities looking to dangle foreign tourism or investment to well-heeled incomers?

Read more at TheMAYOR.eu: Portugal ends new Airbnb permits to mitigate housing crisis