The North Region is a young, entrepreneurial and industrial region where notable artists and creators can be found. The region also makes use of the UNESCO World Heritage title to value urban, historic and natural areas with a strong potential in terms of international development and tourist attraction.
The regional economy encompasses both traditional sector industries (e.g. textile, clothing, footwear and metallurgy) and medium- and high-tech sectors such as automotive components, pharmaceuticals, machinery, precision and communication equipment and computers. The economic activities in the secondary sector (manufacturing and construction) account for about 30.5% of the regional gross value added (GVA, 2013), which is the highest figure among all the Portuguese regions. All in all, 67.8% of the regional GVA comes from the tertiary sector, while 1.7% comes from the primary sector.
The region can be divided into a coastal area which is predominantly urban and more industrialised, and an inland area where the primary sector still plays an important role. However, the tourism sector has observed impressive growth rates in inland regions, especially in the Douro Wine Region Valley, classified as UNESCO World Heritage in 2001. The region has been experienced significant growth of knowledge-intensive service activities. There is also evidence that there is an existing critical mass and significant cost benefit in manpower with high qualification, which provide good conditions for the attraction of more FDI. Furthermore, exports (mainly to EU countries) have significantly increased in the last few years, concerning particularly machinery and electrical material and appliances.
An in-depth analysis published by the Norte Portugal Regional Coordination and Development Commission (CCDRN) concluded that the North region was the "main driver of productivity and economic growth" in the country for the last 10 years and during the period of economic recovery.
A region of opportunities
From textiles, to footwear, through tourism to wines, the North of Portugal has in its variety and complementarity between sectors its anchor of success.
In Higher Education, it is worth mentioning the notable scientific and research work promoted in different Universities and research centres such as the University of Porto (Engineering, Health Sciences and Economics), the University of Minho (Engineering, Textile Sector, Computer Science, Robotics) and the University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro (Earth and Life Sciences, Veterinary and Agricultural Science And Earth). The region also hosts several Science and Technology Parks .
- Porto and Metropolitan Area: services, creative industries, research, tourism; Health and technology, Design and Furniture
- Vale do Ave: textil and fashion
- Vale do Sousa: footwear; lumber industry
- Alto Minho: wines
- Douro: wines and agriculture
- Trás-os-Montes: food industry, agriculture and dimension stone industry
Written by: André Costa Young Regional Ambassador in Norte (Portugal)