Even just a few years ago, the charming city of Lisbon would have been unrecognizable to the millions of visitors who now pass through the Portuguese capital city. The country was struggling with all the effects of a failed national economy: high unemployment, lack of industry and production, and the financial shortfall showed in the dilapidated appearance of the city's buildings. The Portuguese government looked beyond its borders to rectify these problems creating foreign investment incentives, such as Golden Visa or Non-Habitual Residency programmes. Government policy encouraged financial confidence among foreign investors and looked to innovation and service industries as the keys to the country's survival and economic salvation.
"Due partly to the financial crisis (which overturned career expectations for so many Portuguese), there’s a tangible openness to new ideas in the city. “There’s a real can-do entrepreneurial spirit in Lisbon right now. People love their traditions but they are also very open to innovation,” she said. “During the crisis lots of people found opportunities to live elsewhere and to discover different ways of doing things. Now that there’s starting to be more opportunity here they’re coming back and bringing all that energy with them.”
Indeed the benefits of this approach can already be seen with a competitive real estate market among foreign buyers, many new technology start-ups and innovator hubs opening and tourists visiting the city in record numbers. Even the building facades are being restored to their former glory and these factors, according to the BBC, explain why Lisbon is "Europe's best work-and-play capital."
"Over the last three years the council's support for start-ups has helped the city win the title of 2015 European Entrepreneurial Region of the Year. At the same time, it’s also undergone a facelift: crumbling city centre properties have been renovated and new shops and cafes have opened, as workers return."
This paragraph sums up what makes Lisbon so unique and so appealing, "Set on the Atlantic coast this port city is a relatively small capital of 548,000 people, with golden sandy beaches and 220 days of sunshine a year. Lisbon offers a work-live-surf-and-golf culture in a picturesque setting where English is widely spoken. Plus, office and staffing costs are relatively low compared with other capitals in Western Europe."
Read the original BBC Capital article, by Lennox Morrison, here.