Portugal Summer Tourist Numbers Up

October 14, 2011

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The number of foreign tourists staying in Portuguese hotels jumped more than 12 percent in the three summer months, helping to drive hotel revenues almost 10 percent higher from a year earlier, official data showed on Thursday.

The data released by the National Statistics Agency is good news for the heavily indebted country's economy, which is mired in a recession as the government is implementing tough austerity measures under a EUR€78 billion EU/IMF bailout.

Revenue from tourism, including hotels, accounts for more than 10 percent of the Iberian country's gross domestic product.

The institute's data showed that between June and August -- when most visitors come to Portugal -- hotel revenues rose to EUR€737 million while over 2.6 million foreign tourists stayed in the country's hotels.

Total hotel revenues in the first eight months of the year rose more than 7 percent to EUR€1.34 billion and the total number of customers, including foreign and local visitors, rose over 6 percent to 9.8 million. Foreigners accounted for just over a half of that number.

Last year, the number of foreign tourists rose 6 percent, recovering most of 2009's 8 percent fall, while hotel revenues increased 3 percent after a 10 percent slide the previous year.

(Reuters)