Portugal Gets More Foreign Tourists, Fewer Locals

July 13, 2012

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Numbers of foreign tourists in Portuguese hotels rose about 3 percent year on year in the first five months of 2012 to nearly 2.6 million, but overall revenues dropped as locals cut back on hotel stays, reflecting the impact of a deep recession.

The National Statistics Institute said on Thursday hotel revenues fell nearly 4 percent to EUR€582 million (USD$713 million) in January-May.

Portugal saw record high tourism activity last year, lifting hotel revenues to nearly EUR€2 billion -- their highest since 2008 and a boost for the debt-laden country.

Overall revenue from tourism, including hotels, accounts for around 10 percent of the country's gross domestic product.

Portugal is mired in its worst recession since the 1970s as the government pursues tough austerity measures under a EUR€78 billion EU/IMF bailout.

The total number of visitors staying in hotels, including local tourists, fell 3 percent to 4.8 million in January-May, the institute said.