LISBON, Sept 13 Foreign tourists visited
Portugal in greater numbers and spent more money on hotels in
July than a year ago, giving a further boost to an economy that
emerged from a deep recession in the three months to June.
Revenue from tourism accounts for around 10 percent of gross
domestic product in the Iberian country.
National Statistics Institute INE said on Friday hotel stays
by foreign visitors rose nearly 6 percent in July and reached
4.6 million in the first seven months of the year.
Hotels receipts, including those from locals whose numbers
slipped due to a drop in disposable income, rose about 7 percent
in July. Receipts increased 5 percent to 1.05 billion euros
($2.06 billion) in the January-July period.
Although the number of foreign tourists hit a record high
last year, hotels took less money as the economic crisis forced
them to cut prices to attract custom.
This year's improvement in receipts has so far offset last
year's 2 percent drop.
Almost 1 million foreign tourists stayed in Portuguese
hotels in July alone.
While tourists from Europe, especially Britain and Germany,
dominated hotel stays, INE noted an increase of over 20 percent
in visitors from the United States.
Portugal's economy exited its worst recession since the
1970s in the second quarter, when it grew 1.1 percent from the
preceding three months, but is still expected to shrink in 2013
as a whole before returning to feeble growth in 2014.
($1 = 0.7514 euros)
(Reporting By Andrei Khalip; Editing by John Stonestreet)