November 15, 2012 / 11:50 AM / 7 years ago

Portugal draws more foreign tourists but hotel revenues drop

A waiter shows his restaurant's menu to the tourists in downtown Lisbon January 20, 2012. REUTERS/Rafael Marchante

LISBON (Reuters) - Portuguese hotel revenues fell 2 percent in the first nine months of this year despite a rise in foreign tourism as room rates dipped and Portuguese travelled less due to the economic recession.

More than 6.2 million foreign visitors stayed in Portuguese hotels through September, the last month of the summer tourism season, the National Statistics Institute said on Thursday. That was 3 percent more than a year ago.

But a 6 percent drop in the number of Portuguese travelers, to 4.9 million, as well as lower hotel rates aimed at luring more tourists, pushed hotel revenues in the period down to 1.53 billion euros ($1.95 billion).

Tourism-related revenues, including hotels, account for around 10 percent of Portugal’s economy, which is enduring its worst recession since the 1970s and locals are being hit by deep public spending cuts and tax hikes under the country’s 78-billion-euro EU/IMF bailout.

Portugal saw record high tourism activity last year, lifting hotel revenues to nearly 2 billion euros - their highest since 2008 and a welcome economic shot in the arm for the debt-laden country.

Reporting By Andrei Khalip; Editing by Susan Fenton

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