Portugal to boost tourism with empty forts; Deutsche Welle

Portugal – Garrison Border Town of Elvas and its Fortifications

The town of Elvas dominate the plains of southern Alentejo region near the border to Spain. But despite being declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2012, Elvas receives few visitors. How to change this?

To try to change this, Portugal’s second largest hotel group, Vila Gale, is spending around five million euros ($6.0 million) to convert a former convent into a luxury hotel. Dozens of builders are working on the 17th-century whitewashed building, last used as a military court, to transform it into an 80-room, four-star hotel that is set to open next year. “We are convinced that with a quality hotel, tourists will stay in Elvas,” said Jorge Rebelo de Almeida, the president of Vila Gale, which was awarded a 40-year lease to operate the state-owned building.

Most tourists head to the Algarve, the capital Lisbon and the Porto region

Tourism has become a key driver of Portugal’s economy since 2014 when the country exited a three-year 78-billion-euro international bailout that imposed harsh austerity measures on its citizens.

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