Fernando Medina said at a press conference before the mayors' forum of the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) taking place on Friday in Lisbon that these three factors were seen as "antagonistic”, but instead they were "not incompatible".
"We need to have a strong economy and today tourism in the city of Lisbon represents a global aggregated amount of around €10 billion annually, four times more than a company like Autoeuropa", Medina stressed.
The first 'UNWTO Mayors Forum for Sustainable Urban Tourism' counts with around 15 participants and 15 mayors and deputy mayors from several cities including Sao Paulo (Brazil), Dubrovnik (Croatia), Paris (France), Bruges (Belgium), Moscow (Russia), Seoul (South Korea), Madrid and Barcelona (Spain).
Organised by the UNWTO, the ministry of economy, Tourism of Portugal and Lisbon city council, the forum aims to "provide a unique platform to discuss issues and solutions for developing and managing tourism in cities in a way that promotes economic growth, social inclusion and environmental sustainability", according to the organisation's website.
Portugal’s minister of economy Pedro Siza Vieira said the country was well prepared to attract tourists and also diversify the places they visit.
He also said the Portuguese government was taking steps to ensure that Lisbon citizens don't feel excluded from the city.
Siza Viera recalled that the government has already supported 21 projects, a €6 million investment, to involve the local communities in the benefits of tourism.
Following the meeting, a joint statement will be released with recommendations to member states and cities, according to the UNWTO's secretary general, Zurab Pololikashvili.