Por­tu­gal head­ing for an­other record year for tourist ar­rivals

Daily Messenger - - International -

LIS­BON: The num­ber of for­eign tourists vis­it­ing Por­tu­gal jumped around 13 per­cent in Jan­uary-July, putting the coun­try firmly on track for an­other record year for tourism, which has been a key driver of its eco­nomic re­cov­ery since a 2011-14 debt cri­sis.

The Na­tional Statis­tics In­sti­tute said on Thurs­day in its monthly data on the ho­tel sec­tor that over 7.1 mil­lion for­eign vis­i­tors stayed in Por­tuguese ho­tels through July, which helped drive to­tal ho­tel rev­enues over 17 per­cent higher to 1.8 bil­lion eu­ros ($2.14 bil- lion).

Por­tu­gal’s ar­rivals growth out­paced those in neigh­bor­ing Spain, which chalked up a 11 per­cent rise in the same pe­riod, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cial Span­ish data.

De­spite a de­cel­er­a­tion in July from June lev­els, both the tourist ar­rivals and rev­enues so far this year main­tained the pace of growth seen in 2016, when tourist ar­rivals ex­ceeded 10 mil­lion for the first time.

Au­gust is tra­di­tion­ally the strong­est month by far for hol­i­day-mak­ing in Por­tu­gal, which lures for­eign vis­i­tors with its beach- es, his­toric sites and some of the low­est prices for win­ing and din­ing in western Europe.

Pop star Madonna has this month be­come the most il­lus­tri­ous of a grow­ing num­ber of for­eign res­i­dents in Por­tu­gal, which was also named Europe’s top des­ti­na­tion for ex­pa­tri­ates in a sur­vey by so­cial net­work In­terNa­tions.

Ho­tel rev­enues and all travel-re­lated rev­enues ac­count for about 10 per­cent of Por­tu­gal’s gross do­mes­tic prod­uct. The tourism sec­tor is also a key source of em­ploy­ment.

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