In 2018, Portugal won the 25th edition of the World Travel Awards for «Best Destination in the World» and «Best European Destination». But is Portugal just a nice country to visit or can Portugal become a preferred destination for investors?

In 2018, Portugal won the 25th edition of the World Travel Awards for «Best Destination in the World» and «Best European Destination» for the second consecutive year, along with 15 other awards.

Lisbon was voted «Best Destination City» and «Best City Break Destination». Madeira was considered the «Best Insular Destination» and Passadiços do Paiva «Best Adventure Tourism Attraction».

Portugal won awards for «Best Tourism Organization» and «Best Conservation Company». The Portuguese airline TAP won three awards. Five hotels in Portugal received awards, including «World’s Leading City Hotel», «World’s Leading Classic Hotel» and «World’s Leading Design Hotel».

The World Travel Awards reward excellence across all sectors of the global travel and tourism industry. Portugal beat many other recognized destinations such as South Africa, Brazil, Spain, Greece, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Malaysia, Maldives, Morocco, New Zealand, Kenya, Rwanda, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

Portugal was also recognized as «Best World and European Golf Destination» in the World Golf Awards in 2018.

The surge in tourism has been fuelling Portugal’s economic growth since 2014 with significant investments in new hotels and residential projects for short-term leases.

Since 2013, the number of international visitors increased from € 15,9 million to € 24,6 million in 2017. According to the Portuguese National Statistics Institute, tourism-related revenues reached € 15,2 million in 2017.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) increased 61%. Unemployment fell to 8,9% and 7.657 new jobs were created as a direct result of FDI.

The afflux of tourists is offering Portugal an unique opportunity for showcasing the country’s best qualities, attract new business ventures and make Lisbon one of Europe’s best cities to create innovative companies.

Lisbon is now recognized as a popular city for entrepreneurship, innovation, internationalization and financing of startups. 

According to EY, the perception of investors of Portugal’s future attractiveness for business increased 7% since 2013.

Portugal promotes the creation of startups through the «Startup Visa», a hosting program for foreign investors who wish to develop new projects in Portugal. Applicants for startup residence visas must among other things: 

  • Have a real and effective interest in developing a new venture, such as the creation of innovation-based businesses;
  • Propose a project with the potential to create at least five jobs in its first 24 months; and
  • Have the support of a certified incubator.

In November 2018, Lisbon hosted the annual edition of the Web Summit, now the largest event for startups in the world. The Web Summit brought about 60.000 visitors and 2.250 companies from 170 countries to Portugal. 

The City of Lisbon secured the Web Summit for the next 10 years and created «Hub Criativo do Beato», a new business incubation project in the centre of Lisbon that will house innovative and technology-driven companies. Factory Berlin, one of Europe’s largest incubators, Mercedes-Benz and Web Summit are among the first companies to secure a place at Hub Criativo do Beato.

For further information about Portugal’s economy and key legal aspects visit our web platform «Why Portugal».

Portuguese Industrial Property Reform In response to the need of harmonizing the industrial property rules in the European Union (EU), Decree-Law 110/2018 of 10 December 2018 approved a new Industrial Property Code (New IP Code), implementing the EU Trademark Harmonization Directive (EU Directive 2015/2436) and the Trade Secrets Directive (EU Directive 2016/943).

The New IP Code’s rules on protection of trade secrets entered into force on 1 January 2019; the remaining provisions will enter into force on 1 July 2019.

As to the existing IP registration framework, the new rules do not introduce fundamental changes, albeit they have the merit of allowing easier access to the protection of industrial property rights by simplifying and clarifying the administrative procedures for obtaining, keeping and cancelling IP rights.

One of the main novelties of the New IP Code is the strengthening of know-how and trade secrets protection rules, which are now governed by a specific regime, and even more solid than the one provided for the Trade Secrets Directive.

The New IP Code comprehensively defines “trade secrets” and typifies the trade secrets infringements. Trade secret means information which meets all of the following requirements:

  • It is secret in the sense that it is not, as a body or in the precise configuration and assembly of its components, generally known among or readily accessible to persons within the circles that normally deal with the kind of information in question;
  • It has commercial value because it is secret; and
  • It has been subject of reasonable steps to be taken by the person lawfully in control of the information, to keep it secret.

The New IP Code also includes the following changes: (i) for disputes involving reference medicines and generic medicine, the parties have the option of initiating voluntary arbitration or filing the claim before the Intellectual Property Court, (ii) electronic communication means  are now available to contact with the National Institute of Industrial Property (Instituto Nacional de Propriedade Industrial) and (iii) the effectiveness of the fight means against industrial property infringements are reinforced at an European level.

It is foreseen that the new amendments, which have the merit of clarifying the industrial property regime, will constitute an incentive for technology businesses (start-ups) to develop their activity in Portugal.


The United States lead the World Economic Forum’s competitiveness global ranking, followed by Singapore and Germany. EU countries take half of the top 10 positions.

The World Economic Forum’s 2018 edition of «The Global Competitiveness Report» assesses the performance of 140 countries in 98 relevant topics divided in 12 different subjects, including, among others, infrastructure, health, financial system, market size, business dynamism and innovation capability.

For the first time since the financial crisis of 2008, the United States topped the global ranking, much due to the successful combination of an outstanding performance of its financial system with significant funds made available for venture capital and financing of SMEs (a leading 5.6 and 5.8 out of 7 in both indexes), fluid product and labour dynamics (with notable marks on HR practices and mobility) and the market size, second only to China.

Germany was 1st among the EU countries and 3rd in the global ranking. Singapore took the 2nd place. Switzerland and the Netherlands move down.

Portugal moves up from 42nd place in 2017 to 34th and from 18th to 16th in the ranking of EU countries.

EU countries kept half of the first 10 positions. The EU as a whole improved its performance with better rankings and additional Member-States in the top fifty economies.

China and India did not move up on the charts but added 0.9 and 1.2 points to their 2017 scores, respectively. There is still a substantial gap to the leaders in the innovation race, where China and India rank 24th and 31st respectively.

The EU, Portugal included, performed better in the WEF report, showing good results on improving the competitiveness of its economies, than in the World Bank’s «Doing Business 2019», where the EU is losing ground to emerging countries in the attraction of investors.

Portugal has its highest performance in the following pillars: Infrastructure, 19th, Health, 23rd, and Business dynamism, 27th.

The World Economic Forum points out the vulnerabilities of the small size of Portugal’s domestic market, which is an unavoidable fact that can only be compensated by a dynamic exporting economy, and Portugal’s fragile macro-economic stability, especially because of the debt dynamics where Portugal scores 70 points in 100, in line with Italy and ahead of Greece by almost 30 points. Portugal drops seven positions in the employment pillar Skills, but improves in half of the indexes related to the training of its workforce.

The Global Competitiveness Report 2018 highlights Portugal’s reputation as a jurisdiction with business dynamics and as the innovation hub in Southern Europe, leading the region in the growth of innovative companies, scoring 8.3 more points than Spain and 17.9 more than Greece.

Portugal improved significantly in the strength of institutions pillar, moving up 13 positions to 30th place.

Portugal achieves its best performance in crime-related incidences, 12th, road quality, 5th, electrification rate, 1st, inflation, 1st, and the prevalence of non-tariff barriers on product markets, 5th.

In total, Portugal scores 10.2 points above the average of all 140 economies. Portugal closed the gap to 12.4 points to the 10 most competitive economies.

For further information about Portugal’s economy and key legal aspects visit our web-platform «Why Portugal».

Together with the rules on processing of personal data set out by the Regulation 2016/679 of 27 April 2016 (GDPR), which has applied since May 25, 2018, the European Union (EU) establishes new rules on processing of non-personal data.

The European Parliament approved a new regulation – Regulation 2018/1807 of 14 November 2018 –, which seeks to promote free movement of non-personal electronic data within the EU where: (i) the data processing is provided as a service to users with residence or establishment in the EU, regardless of whether the service provider is established or not in the EU, or (Ii) the data processing is carried out, for own needs, by individuals or businesses in the EU.

But, after all, what does “non-personal data” mean? In contrast to "personal data", non-personal data is any information that does not refer to an identified or identifiable natural person (individuals). Examples of non-personal data include aggregate and anonymised datasets used for analysing large volumes of data in the current context of strong development of the Internet of things, Artificial Intelligence, autonomous systems and 5 G.

In order to enable the free movement of non-personal data in the EU, Member States are obliged to repeal all non-personal electronic data localisation requirements established in their local laws until May 30, 2021. If, however, this removal could be detrimental to public security, the Member State should consult the European Commission, which, after examination, may decide whether the Member-State shall keep (or not) the localisation requirements.

The rule will be, however, the free movement of non-personal electronic data in the EU, including data portability to professional users. This may be only limited or prohibited for justified public security reasons.

Considering that non-personal data and personal data may coexist, as there is no obligation to separately store these different types of data, the new regulation applies together with the GDPR. Thus, if, for example, technological developments make it possible to turn anonymised data into personal data, such data is personal data and the GDPR will apply.

This may raise new legal issues (and ethics), particularly where decisions are taken without human interaction, including, among others, issues concerning data access and reuse and the issue of liability along the entire value chain of data processing.

In the future, the European Commission will be in charge of drafting codes of conduct with best practices and information requirements in order to ensure full transparency and interoperability in the so-called “data economy and emerging technologies."


In recent years, Lisboa has become a popular city to visit. Since 2016, when the annual edition of the Web Summit, the largest startup event in the World, was hosted for the first time in Portugal. Lisbon  is now also a popular city for entrepreneurship, innovation, internationalization and financing of startups. In 2017, the Web Summit brought around 60,000 visitors and 2,250 companies from 170 different countries, and had an overall estimated impact of € 300,000,000 in the Portuguese economy.

The Portuguese Cabinet has approved (by its Resolution 149/2018 of 15 November) the agreement between the Portuguese State, the Municipality of Lisboa, the Portuguese SME support agency (IAPMEI) and Connected Intelligence Limited, the Web Summit organizer, to stage this event in Lisbon for 10 more years, from 2019 to 2028.

Alongside with the hosting of the event, The Portuguese tourism agency (Turismo de Portugal) and IAPMEI will provide to Connected Intelligence Limited a total of € 80,000,000 in 10 yearly instalments of € 8,000,000.

The Portuguese Economy Minister will monitor the organization of the Web Summit, to ensure that it promotes the image of Portugal and of the Portuguese companies abroad, it attracts high technological value investment and it leads to general national economic growth, as expected.

The amendments to the Gothenburg Protocol dated may 4th 2012 have set the tone for new commitments regarding environmental matters, in particular for the reduction of anthropogenic air emissions.

Being a party to the  Gothenburg Protocol, the European Union (“EU”) must impose to the State-Members measures to reduce emissions of air pollutants  between 2020 and 2029 in accordance to  EU Directive 2016/2284  (the “National Emissions Ceilings Directive”).

This EU Directive is now being transposed by the Portuguese State trough Decree-Law no. 84/2018, of October 23, that provides for

(i) Mandatory reductions of Sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, non-methane volatile organic compounds; ammonia; and fine particulate matter;

(ii) The creation of National Air Pollution Control Program (Plano Nacional de Controlo da Poluição Atmosférica), by the Portuguese Environment Agency (Agência Portuguesa do Ambiente), which must be in accordance to the  Guidance on the elaboration and implementation of the initial National Air Pollution Control Programmes under the new National Emissions Ceilings Directive. The Program shall consider measures applicable to all relevant sectors, including agriculture, energy, industry and road transport, among others and guarantee that they’re in accordance to other existent environmental programs;

(iii) An obligation to update this Program every four years;

(iv) The prohibition of the use of ammonium carbonate fertilizers, being that such use constitutes a serious administrative offence.

This new regulation  becomes effective on October 28th but is not applicable to the autonomous regions of Madeira and Azores.



From 1 January 2019, travelers, who purchase a package or linked travel arrangement by using online means  (e.g. Internet or telephone) or offline from travel agencies (e.g. consumer’s domicile or workplace), will benefit from stronger consumer rights.

Businesses must inform travelers whether they are offered a package or linked travel arrangement, on their key rights through standardized information forms.

Before the purchase, they must provide to Portuguese travelers with a set of information, in Portuguese language, on the main features and characteristics of the package, the total price (including taxes), additional charges or costs, if any, arrangement for payments, among others.

Whenever the travel package or arrangement is purchased by online means, the travel agency must ensure that consumers expressly and intentionally confirm that finalizing the order will imply a payment of the service. If the service provider does not fulfill this obligation, the payment may not be required.

If the telephone is used to enter into a contract, consumers will be bound to contractual terms after signing the offer, or send his/her written approval to the service provider, unless a first approach is made by the consumer.

Businesses usually make available telephone hotlines for customer service purposes, including provision of information. In these cases, consumers may not be charged with additional costs other than basic charges.

This stronger protection is set out by Decree 78/2018, of 15 October 2018, and exclusively applies to travelers, who are consumers. The new rules aim to benefit those travelers, who purchase a package or linked travel arrangement, from an online or offline point of sale, for non-professional purposes only.


The professor and senior consultant Guilherme Machado Dray is now Partner at Macedo Vitorino & Associados.

Guilherme has been in the firm since 2015 as Of Counsel, with special focus on employment law and collective bargaining.

With the increasing number of clients, the labour team, now with six lawyers and two trainees, led by Guilherme Dray with the support of senior associate Inês Coelho Simões, has also been restructured and strengthened with the hiring of a new associate, Daniela Verdasca.

For Managing Partner, João Macedo Vitorino, "the nomination of Guilherme Dray is the result of his human qualities and the technical capacity he has demonstrated in the area of practice in which he works and also by the alignment with the culture and goals of Macedo Vitorino."

Guilherme has over 20 years of experience in the public and private sectors. He has performed academic functions, being Professor in the Lisbon University School of Law and researcher at the Centre of Research of Private Law of that University. He was Visiting Professor at Georgetown University, in Washington, and is the author of several scientific publications. He held advisory functions in the Portuguese Government and worked as manager and consultant in consulting firms, mainly in the Media, Telecommunication, and Technology as well as in Building Capacity areas in Portugal and in many other Portuguese-speaking language countries such as Brazil, Angola and East Timor.

The “Startup Visa” is a hosting program focused on foreign investors who intend to develop an enterprise or innovative project in Portugal. Such entrepreneurs may apply for a residence authorization/visa if certain requirements are met. 

This program establishes that only “certified incubators” can be responsible for supporting the development of new businesses, the provision of equipped spaces, and administrative and marketing assistance under an incubation agreement eligible candidates.

The certification process for incubators within the “StartUP Visa” program is now completed and the final list of “certified incubators” is now available at IAPMEI’s website


New amendments to the Portuguese Labour Code have entered into force regarding the legal framework in the event of a transfer of undertaking, or parts of undertaking that constitute an economic entity (“TUPE”).

In the event of application of the TUPE, the employment agreements previously concluded remain in force. However, under the new rules, if the transfer of the employment agreement causes “serious damage” to the employee, namely by the transferee’s evident insolvency or difficult financial situation or, also, if the employee does not trust transferee’s policies regarding work organization, the employee can now:

  • Oppose the transfer of his/her employment agreement, maintaining the transferor as the employer of the employee; or
  • Terminate the employment agreement, which entitles the employee to a monetary compensation equivalent to 12 days of base salary and seniority allowances multiplied by the employee’s seniority, capped by 12 base salaries and seniority allowances.

Regarding information and consultation to employees, in addition to the information relating to the date and motives of the transfer, its legal, economic and social consequences for the employees, as well as the prospective measures regarding the employees, the transferor and the transferee are now obliged to provide information on the content of the transfer contract, providing the law with a duty of confidentiality for those who obtain this information.

Another relevant change to the TUPE regime relates to the participation of representatives of the Authority for Working Conditions (“ACT”), which may be requested by any party involved in the transfer. The intervention of the ACT aims to promote, namely, the consultation’s material and procedural regularity and validity, and the insurance of respect and compliance with the employees’ rights.

The transferor shall now be jointly and severally liable with the transferee for the due obligations during the two years following the date of transfer of the undertaking, and not for just one year.

These amendments enter into force starting today.