Sunny Portugal with an expansive coastline to the Atlantic is a dream vacation spot. Once a global maritime and economic power during the 15th and 16th centuries, today it attracts millions of visitors per year. But how attractive is Portugal for investors looking to expand their business, or for skilled immigrants who are looking for a new place to settle? How strong is its country brand and soft power, its reputation?

Let’s take a closer look at:

  • Portugal’s soft power and brand strength
  • Its appeal to skilled labor, investors and visitors
  • The country’s global contribution to peace and wellbeing
  • How well it fares in terms of happiness and sustainability

Portugal’s soft power and country brand strength

In the Global Soft Power Index 2023 by Brand Finance, Portugal secured the 30th spot jumping two positions since last year, with its score having increased from 41 in 2022 to 46.6 this year.

In the U.S. News Best Countries 2023 ranking, Portugal secured the 25th position, behind Ireland (23rd) and Luxembourg (24th). Notably, it excels in the key area of adventure (6th). The country has jumped one position from 2022, with lowest scores in movers and power factors.

The Anholt-Ipsos Nation Brand Index (NBI) calculates its ranking based on averaging the scores of six different factors: exports, governance, tourism, culture, people and immigration, and tourism. According to the NBI 2023 ranking Portugal secures the 20th position.

Appeal to talent, business, trade and travel 

The Expat Insider 2023 ranks Portugal in 10th position out of 53 countries, below Bahrain (9th). Its most remarkable factors include: the Environment and Climate (5th), Quality of Life (7th) and Safety and Security (7th).

The Bloom Consulting biannual Country Brand Ranking Trade Edition 2022-2023 assesses investment-related variables, emphasizing perceptions of a country’s trade-specific brand and evaluating branding performance. Regionally, Portugal placed 11th behind Sweden (10th) and above Poland (12th), an increase of one place. Globally, it secured the 23rd position, a jump of two positions since the previous report. 

In addition, the Bloom Consulting Country Brand Ranking Tourism Edition 2022-2023 places Portugal at the 15th global position, dropping one position from the previous ranking. Regionally, it continues to rank in the top 10, securing the 8th position this year.

In the IMD 2023 World Competitiveness Ranking, Portugal secured the 39th position, a jump of three positions from the previous ranking. Currently, it sits just behind Kuwait (38th) and India (40th). In terms of specific characteristics, Portugal’s economic performance jumped four positions to the 42nd spot in 2023.

According to the European Innovation Scoreboard 2023, Portugal belongs to the Moderate Innovators group, along with Estonia, Greece, and Italy, among others. Its performance has increased by 7.7 points during the period between 2016 and 2023.

How “good” is Portugal?

In the Caf World Giving Index 2023, Portugal secured the 115th position, a similar position to the previous index. The country’s top performance is in the Helping a Stranger factor where 53% of its adult population helped a stranger in the last year.

In the Good Country Index, Portugal currently holds the 29th position overall, with notable subfactors as follows: Science & Technology (30th), Culture (5th), and Planet & Climate (22nd). It’s worth mentioning that in 2022, Portugal was ranked 35th, its biggest improvement can be seen in the Prosperity and Equality factor. 

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) Democracy Index 2023, Portugal ranked in the blue zone (7-8 range) with a 7.75 out of 10. This is higher than Italy who scored 7.69, but lower than Spain who scored 8.07.

The 2022 Corruption Perception Index ranks Portugal 33rd with a score of 62/100, tying with Lithuania. Portugal’s score has stayed the same since 2021.

The Sustainable Development Report 2023 ranks Portugal in 18th position, it highlights that Portugal continues to face some major and significant challenges. However, the country is on track with No Poverty, Clean Water and Sanitation, and Gender Equality goals.

Peace and happiness

The Global Peace Index 2023 ranks Portugal 7th, jumping on exposition from last years’ index. Portugal sits behind Austria (5th), and Singapore (6th). Portugal falls under the very high sector of the ‘State of Peace’ spectrum as defined by the Institute for Economics & Peace. Portugal positioned 5th regionally amongst its fellow European countries, led by Iceland and Denmark.

The Institute for Economics & Peace similarly ranks Portugal within the no impact zone in terms of ‘Impact of Terrorism’ in the 2022 Global Terrorism Index. Portugal ranks 93rd, sitting amongst many countries in last place. Meanwhile, the World Happiness Report 2023 which displays the Ranking of Happiness based on a three-year-average 2020–2022 ranks Portugal 56th.

Environmental performance 

The 2022 edition of the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) ranks Portugal 48th, sitting between Panama (47th), Belize and Canada (49th). The EPI analyzes the performance of 180 countries, scoring and ranking these countries on their environmental performance using the most recent year of data available as well as providing calculable changes in scores over the previous decade. Portugal has experienced a change in score of positive 7.30.

Talent attraction and competitiveness

The World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Index 2019 edition placed Portugal at the 34th position among 141 countries. However, it’s important to note that an updated version of this report hasn’t been released in the past five years, and rankings may have shifted since then.

Portugal, classified as a high-income country within the European regional group, currently holds the 27th position in the Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2023. Notably, it performs most remarkably in the Attract pillar where it holds the 16th position and its main challenge is the Vocational and Technical skills pillar where it ranked 48th.

Last updated in November 2023. More country profiles here.

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