Madeira Identity Card
- Population: approximately 270 inhabitants.
- Capital city : Funchal, capital and port of the Re Area: approximately 800 km² Language : Portuguese.
- Change : l & rsquo Head of l & rsquo Administrative form: Madeira Number of tunnels: around 150!
- Site listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site: the laurel forest of Madeira (inscribed in 1999). An exceptional vestige of a once widespread type of laurel forest, it is the largest surviving laurel forest, around 90% primary.
A good development
The 2 main activities of Madeira are agriculture and tourism, but the economy of the archipelago is also supported by the construction sector (hotels and roads are needed to accommodate tourists).
Le tertiary sector (services) today employs over 76% of the working population, and Madeira can be proud of having taken its revenge on history by becoming one of the richest in Portugal, after having been one of of the poorest regions of Europe. Its gross domestic product (GDP) is average for European countries.
It was Portugal's entry into the European Union that “boosted” the economy of the archipelago, an integral part of the Union thanks to its status as an outermost region. Madeira thus benefited until the 2000s from substantial Community aid, especially for the development of hotel capacities and infrastructures.
Unemployment and the financial crisis
However, everything is not yet perfect in Madeira: the unemployment rate remains high (8,3% at the end of 2018), the education of Madeirans has certainly increased but can still be improved (40% of the population has little education), and many Madeirans only get by thanks to social assistance, odd jobs, and seasonal activities related to tourism and construction, not to mention family solidarity.
But above all, sometimes risky investments and projects the region's president, Alberto João Jardim (in power from 1978 to 2015), got the better of local finances.
This devastated situation caused tensions with Lisbon, and the archipelago had to agree to implement a austerity plan.
Historically, Madeira first developed thanks to agriculture, which today represents most of the primary sector (about 10% of the working population). The mild subtropical climate and the fertility of the volcanic soil allowed the early settlers to grow just about anything there, mainly sugar cane, cereals and of course vines, but also later fleurs, vegetables and tropical fruits like banana, pineapple, mango, guava, custard apple, fig, passion fruit and avocado.
This "sword), sardines and mackerel.
The tourist manna
Tourism alone contributes to 20% of the archipelago's GNP and supports the hotel, catering, retail, transport and craft sectors. Porto Santo, which enjoys ideal sunshine and magnificent sandy beaches over 9 km, lives largely thanks to seaside tourism, the island of Madeira being more oriented towards green tourism.
Hotel capacities have developed over the years.
The archipelago has two airports.
Handicrafts constitute the main industrial activity, today closely linked to tourism. The embroidery first of all, which is an integral part of Madeira's history. This still artisanal activity is, thanks to exports throughout the world and tourism, a significant source of income. It is also one of the most beautiful and elegant business cards of the archipelago.
Let's not forget the basketry. It is still an activity which makes work a good number of peasants (for the cultivation of wickerwork) and basket makers. Finally, we can also mention, among the Madeiran crafts, the straw hats, the objects in marquetry ceramic, woolens.
La production of Madeira wines is another emblematic activity of the archipelago, and vines are present everywhere. There is a great diversity of grape varieties. A good part of the wines is exported.
Since construction works sector in the archipelago has suffered greatly from the drying up of European funds and the end of the major works policy.
Located in Caniçal, the Madeira free zone was opened in 1987. A real success, a concentrate of financial, economic and commercial activities, and an economic boom.
But the bloodhounds of the European Union, gone in the hunt for tax havens, passed through Madeira; financial companies no longer had the right to set up in the free zone. Less attractive, she saw the number of her businesses melt like snow in the sun.