Portugal's tourist arrivals dip after record run
LISBON (Reuters) - The number of foreign tourists visiting Portugal edged lower in the first 10 months of this year, the first cumulative decline after years of record figures, data showed on Friday, with Britons accounting for a large part of the drop. The National Statistics Institute, which monitors hotel stays, said total arrivals were 0.1 percent lower than a year earlier at just below 11.4 million. In the same period of 2017, arrivals were up by almost 12 percent to exceed 11.4 million.
LISBON (Reuters) - The number of foreign tourists visiting Portugal edged lower in the first 10 months of this year, the first cumulative decline after years of record figures, data showed on Friday, with Britons accounting for a large part of the drop.
The National Statistics Institute, which monitors hotel stays, said total arrivals were 0.1 percent lower than a year earlier at just below 11.4 million. In the same period of 2017, arrivals were up by almost 12 percent to exceed 11.4 million.
Seven years of booming tourism have hugely benefited Portugal's economy as it recovered from a debt crisis and economic recession of 2011-14, but its hopes for another record year after 2017's 12.7 million tourists look set to fall flat.
Hotel revenues were still 6 percent higher in the period, helped by growing domestic travel and higher room rates, but the growth is about a third what it was a year ago, since when dozens of new hotels have opened.
Arrivals started to decline at the height of the summer season in July, but it was not until October's 2 percent drop that the cumulative number for the year became smaller than at the same point of 2017.
Even with more Portuguese travellers staying in hotels, boosting the total number of guests by 1.3 percent to 18.5 million in the January to October period, the number of nights visitors overall spent in hotels slipped by 0.5 percent.
Travellers from all main European markets except Spain stayed fewer nights in Portuguese hotels, with Britain, by far the largest source of tourists, leading the declining trend with a near 9 percent drop, followed by Germany, the data showed.
On a positive note, a higher number of tourists from North America and Brazil spent more time in Portugal.
Tourism and all travel-related revenues account for over 10 percent of Portugal's gross domestic product, which is expected to grow 2.3 percent in 2018.
That would mark a slowdown from last year's 2.7 percent rise, Portugal's strongest growth since 2000.
(Reporting By Andrei Khalip; Editing by Jan Harvey)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.