Overseas tourists visiting Portugal hit record in 2015
LISBON (Reuters) - A record number of foreign tourists stayed in Portuguese hotels last year, with the number surpassing 10 million visitors for the first time and boosting hotel revenues to nearly 2.5 billion euros ($2.8 billion), official data showed on Tuesday.
Tourist arrivals and all travel-related revenues, which account for around 10 percent of Portugal's gross domestic product, have been growing since 2011, helping the Atlantic coastal country overcome its economic and debt crisis.
The National Statistics Institute said the number of foreign tourists reached 10.18 million in 2015, a rise of 10 percent on the previous year. As economic growth accelerated to 1.5 percent last year from 0.9 percent in 2014, the number of local travelers rose by 7 percent to 7.3 million.
Hotel revenues rose by more than 13 percent, outpacing the tourist arrivals growth, as hotels were able to increase prices thanks to strong demand.
Portugal opened more than 50 new hotels, practically all of them four- and five-star establishments, last year.
Private entrepreneurs have also redeveloped hundreds of apartment buildings in old parts of Lisbon and other areas of Portugal to rent to tourists, helping the country's flagging construction sector.
($1 = 0.8948 euros)
(Reporting By Andrei Khalip; Editing by Alexander Smith)
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