Site Autárquico de Beja

 Beja: a bet on the future 

 

Our region is presently facing great challenges which demand the appropriate responses from everybody involved.

The Municipality is aware of the present reality, the strengths and weaknesses, the restrictions and difficulties implied in developing Beja and the region.

That's why we believe that a true bet on its development is important and promising for ali those who wish to settle here.

 

These are what you will find:

-Appealing location and good accessibilities;

-Research centre

-Human resources availability, favourable to economic development;

-Quality of life, great heritage value and good environmental conditions for economic development, namely for activities related to tourism;

-Pleasant gardens and parks and an enticing cultural and leisure environment; -Dynamic business movement;

-Development of structuring public investments: Beja airport  and  the Alqueva Dam

-Available spaces for investment with business solutions

-Infrastructures with impact  on business dynamic (exhibition and fair facilities, industrial park)

-Higher education and Polytechnic Institutes linked to the region's development.

 

 

 Beja: Strategy and Mission 

 

We have to consider the specialisation of the city if we want to provide it with the basic conditions necessary to carry out its urban activities and to establish the link with the territory it polarises, in order to highlight its uniqueness within the national and regional urban network.

This means that we have to rethink functions and services, structured from a broader territorial reference, with the possibility of creating new developing dynamics for the city. According to this point of view, it is particularly important to attract foreign investment as a way to promote the diversification of specialised activities.

Thus, according to this strategic framework, it is possible to move towards a strategic mission for the city of Beja based on three core aspects:

. Beja as a logistic centre;

. Beja as a centre for the promotion of events;

. Beja as a qualified teaching and research centre.

 

The concept of logistic centre should be based on two different axes: distribution and supply. The distribution logistic centre should promote the establishment of wholesaler enterprises and activities who can profit from the city's centrality as an advantage to create and maintain a network of retailers, with low-cost travel and storage, and the real prospect of establishing closer relations with potential clients.

The supply centre is directly linked to the centrality aspect and the existence of numerous externai economies which enhance the amount of services and goods available, aspects which reinforces its attractiveness. As a consequence, the establishment of shops and service providers becomes rentable due to the demand Beja's centrality encourages. It is not a coincidence that several distribution enterprises have already established themselves in Beja and many others are interested in doing so.

The conclusion of the airport of Beja is already a fact which will prove to be an important development factor linked to the reinforcement of the city as a logistic centre and as a privileged location  for  activities  dependent on the proximity of air transportation.

Since Beja is the chief urban centre within the irrigation territory of the Alqueva Dam (110,000 ha), new opportunities open up for the establishment of the support logistic to ali  activities  related to farming,  agriculture and cattle industry, besides the environmental industries.

For the organisation of events, Beja has gota significant set of infrastructures and facilities for different events. The Exhibition and Fair Park has a total covered area of 17,000 m2, with facilities such as a riding -stable among others. The covered area is made up of three enclosed pavilions with an area of 11,700 m2 for exhibitions and another roofed pavilion (5,300 m2)  which can serve as a multi-event  venue for sporting events (international equestrian competitions and BTT have taken place there along with other initiatives such as ice-skating, exhibitions of dogs, etc.) or musical performances. It is a large open space composed of two tiered seating for spectators on the sides.

Beja has 2,100 seating places available for conferences scattered in various facilities which can hold from 50 to 670 people. There is an active movement of associations that organises several events along the year. As for sporting facilities, there is one natural grass playing field, two syntethic grass playing fields, a race track, an olympic swimming pool, an indoor pool, that together compose an important sporting compound, located near a four-star hotel, prepared to support and serve as a training centre.

Education and research are already part of Beja and one of its ...externally because many students come from different parts in the country. There are several degrees available, namely related to agriculture, food industry, tourism, management, computing, information technologies, civil construction, nurse's and teacher's training schools.

The Polytechnic Institute of Beja develops various applied research projects and a regional biotechnological research centre (CEBAAL) that is is preparing agreements and protocols with different national and international organisations.

Agriculture and tourism also play a relevant part on our strategic design due to its potential development in the region.

The primary sector presents multiple possibilities to explore the production of quality raw materiais to support economic activities related to agro-industry. Thus, it is important to structure and rethink these new activities, improve the organisation and management of the existing ones in arder to respond to the new challenges posed by the modem farming.

Tourism, which has gained a great visibility in our country, particularly in our region, is becoming an enticing investment and a  development factor, due to the city’s proximity to Lisbon and Seville and its centrality within a region with a significant and preserved  natural and cultural heritage.

An offer which can profit from the tourist products of its neighbouring coastal regions: the Algarve and Alentejo Litoral. There is still another segment to which we may respond, not yet fully studied and explored: senior tourism, especially for elder people coming from the Northern Europe who look for the fine weather and warm temperatures in the South, particularly during winter.

ln order to achieve these goals it is vital to attract external resources and operators due to the ambitious challenges we are faced with.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Geographic location and accessibilities 

 

The city of Beja is located in the south of Portugal, 180 Km far from Lisbon (the Portuguese capital and metropolitan centre with over 2 million inhabitants), 217 Km far from Seville (the capital of Andaluzia, one of Spain's Autonomous Regions, with 700,000 inhabitants), and 180 Km far from Badajoz (the capital of the Spanish Autonomous Region of Extremadura with 150,000 inhabitants). The map on the side allows you to better locate the city and its surrounding territory.

If we consider Beja's geographic location in relation to its surrounding territory within approximately 250 Km, there are comprised urban and rural spaces with around seven million people, distributed according to the following table:

 

Territorial Area

Approximate Resident Population

Metropolitan Area of Lisbon

2.800.000

Alentejo

758.000

Algarve

445.000

Province of Badajoz

693.000

Province of Huelva

520.000

Province of Sevilha

1.812.000

Total

7.028.000

 

As for accessibilities, the city is served by two main roads (IP2 and IPB) both of which have undergone improvement works.

IP2 is the axis that links North-South while IPB is the crossing axis West-East. The freeway from Lisbon to the Algarve has a near access of approximately 50 Km.

The city is also served by the south railway, and the link with Lisbon centre takes less than two hours.

There is also an airport track, the second best in the country, considered in the air routes as an emergency resource, with no restrictions to any use by any kind of airship.

As it has already been mentioned, Beja is in a very privileged situation considering its centrality and its vocational profile as a distribution and supply logistic centre.

ln order to prove it, a component analysis has been done, based on the effort calculation of the accessibility to goods and services, taking into account the urban centres located within a probable area of influence of Beja, i.e., till an average distance of 150 Km.

Among the 99 locations (urban centres) assessed, Beja was ranked in the 5th place, with a final score of 23,2 points (the best scored 20,6 and the worst 47,8). If we consider that the first four cities have less than 5,000 inhabitants, which means that there is no current critical mass required to sustain logistic centres, nor the possibility to develop it in the future, than Beja is in a highly competitive position.

Also considering that being the region's capital (an administrative advantage) and possessing good accessibilities (including the airport in short term), than its geographic location is the feature that marks the centrality of Beja.

 

 

 

 

 Economic and social characteristics 

 

Population and demography

Mounting up to almost 36,000 inhabitants, the population is scattered along an area of 1,146 Km2. The population density is 31.3 inhabitants per Km2, which is a low value compared to the national average, although one of the highest in the whole region.

The age level between 25 and 64 represents 51,4% of the people, while those older than 65 are 21%. Like many other regions in Europe the local population faces an ageing process and the new generations do not grow at the necessary rate to replace the oldest ones. The birth rate in Beja is 9,5%, one of the highest in the region, while its mortality rate is 11,9%, which is less than the average shown in recent studies for the region.

More than 60 % of the population is concentrated in the city of Beja, around 30% lives in settlements with less than 2,000 inhabitants and 5% in settlements between 2,000 and 5,000 inhabitants, the same percentage for those who live in isolated areas or are temporarily absent.

 

Agriculture

Agriculture is the traditionally dominant activity in the region and it presents huge potential uses because of its high quality soils - among the best in Portugal - and the possibility of enlargement wet areas within the zone of the Alqueva Dam.

Owing to its natural conditions, the renewal offarming will enhance economic growth, affect other economic sectors development and work as a means to retain the local population.

Cereals most important crops are wheat, oats and barley.  With important expression are the oleaginous (18.5%) and some  leguminous plants (3.3%). Other soil uses are related to horticulture, vineyard, fruit trees orchad and  olive growing (fastest  expanding area). A significant area of the soil is used for forest species: southern live oak, cork-oak, and  eucalyptus.

The irrigated areas are enlarging and so are the wet crops.

The cattle is mainly made up of sheep (37,8%), bovine (31,4%), and pigs. The density of the cattle per useful farming land is 0,24 per ha.

Private property is the most common ownership, but land tenure has rarely been stable, and has faced constant change.

 

lndustry

Industrial development has been conditioned by the location of Beja as an inland region and the lack of local investors.

Among the main manufacturing activities the first place is, traditionally, for the food industry, than the metalwork sector ad the processing of non-metal mineral products. These industries are usually of small and medium size.

 

Tourism

 

The district of Beja has huge possibilities fro the development of tourism, specially rural and cultural tourism. This sector is not yet fully developed, although it has been steadity growing.

This region is marked by a strong link to the land and the rural world, built upon an ecological balance, the absence of highly populated centres, a quiet environment and the hospitality of the local people.

The cultural heritage and other traces of ancient societies provides the city and its territory a unique cultural identity one cannot find anywhere else in Portugal.

Trade and Services

Trade and services are the economic sectors which prove to be more dynamic concerning employment mobility. Its growing economic impact can only be explained through the increasing administrative profile of Beja, as the capital of the region and district. ln the last years, Beja has witnessed a solid growth of the Third Sector which was not accompanied by the corresponding growth ofthe directly productive economic activities.

Employment and enterprises

One of the region's most important features is the social structure of its working population. For historical reasons, the weight of the wage earning classes is huge: 80,6% (one of the highest in the  country) against 13% of self-employed (the shop owners are the biggest group) and 3,6% of businesspeople.

The wage earning classes are mainly found in farming, trade and services.

 

Culture and sports

Beja has been the venue for several cultural and leisure activities, due to the support the Municipality has provided the cultural agents and associations. Together we have maintained a full and varied cultural program and offer to the population. Beja has the following cultural facilities, among other minor ones:

Municipal Theatre Pax Julia

Local Library

Culture House

A museum network

Art Gallery "Jorge Vieira" and "Galeria dos Escudeiros"

Municipal swimming pools

Sporting compounds (race tracks, football fields, tennis courts,etc.)

Regional Historical Archives

 Regional Arts School (music and dance)

Parks and public garden

Pavilion and multipurpose spaces

ln the rural areas there are entertainment centres for the local people that can hold from 150 to 400 seating places and smaller local libraries.

There are many sporting clubs for football, handball, basketball, martial arts, athletics, roller-skating, tennis, motor sports, chess and checkers, and many others. Fishing and hunting and nature sports are activities with increasing number of participants.

The Municipality of Beja has always been committed to create and improve sporting and cultural facilities, to support a regular event program and to promote healthier lifestyles.

 

Education

New establishments of higher education have settled in   Beja in the last decades. The graduation courses   available focus on the following subjects:  

Agriculture, Tourism, Law, Computing engineering, Sports, Arts, Communication and Multimedia, Accountancy and management, Social Service, Education and training, Nursing

The vocational and training education has grown and now there are many areas available: Tourism, Social Entertainment, Accountancy, Social Assistance, and other technical subjects.

The secondary high schools have registered an increasing number of students, but the lower education levels have fewer students due to the decrease on the birth rate.

 

Infrastructures and Public Health Services

On the Public Health Service Beja has got t e following facilities:

Regional Hospital

Emergency services

Oncology Unit                          

Health Centres with branches in all villages

Cerebral Palsy Centre Hearing handicapped centre

Drug-addict support centre

Departament of psychiatry and mental heath

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Beja: New Expanding Industrial and Housing Zones 

 

Industrial Park

The total area of the existing Industrial Park is 17ha (42,01 a), divided in lots from 500 to 5,000 m2, owned mainly by private entities.

The area defined for the establishment of industries on the Municipal Land Use Planning is much larger anda new Industrial Park is now being built.

These two Parks is located in the northeast of the city, near the railway station and a main roadway (IPB) that links the Sea Port of Sines (on the coastal Alentejo) to Spain. It is 8 Km far from the airport of Beja. These parks are, hence, in a privileged location in relation to other urban consumption centres.

The parks possess an internal network of roads and eas_y outside access. It is fully structured with sewage and water supply systems, telephone and electricity, and a recycling disposal centre. 

Around 70 companies of various businesses have established themselves in the existing Park: metal and machinery, agriculture and food industry, chemical industry, civil construction amoung others.

 

The New Industrial Park and Housing compound

The northern expansion area mounts up to 123 ha (303.94a) and it is essenctially destined to renew the neighbouring zone of the existing industrial park. This new enlargement zone will allow the establishment of further economic and industrial activities: storage, wholesalers, etc.

A new residential area is also being built in the neighbourhood. The residential area consists of    about 200 homes with facilities of collective use, such as gardens and parks to provide the necessary environmental balance.