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Portugal Tourism Numbers Up In 2012

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The number of foreign tourists visiting Portugal hit a record high last year, but hotels took less money as the economic crisis forced them to cut prices to attract custom, data showed on Thursday.

Foreign arrivals rose 4 percent to 7.7 million, the National Statistics Institute figures showed, while hotel revenues slipped just over 2 percent to EUR€1.86 billion (USD$2.5 billion) - within touching distance of the record of EUR€1.96 billion set in 2008.

Overall revenues from tourism account for around 10 percent of Portugal's gross domestic product.

Portugal is mired in its worst recession since the 1970s, with the country's economic growth prospects damaged by tough austerity measures the government has had to enforce under its EUR€78 billion EU/IMF bailout.

GDP shrank 3.2 percent last year and is expected to contract at least another 1 percent this year.

(Reuters)