U.S. visitors push Portugal’s foreign tourism to record in November

LISBON (Reuters) – Almost 140,000 visitors from the United States brought the number of foreign tourists in Portugal to a record high last November, the National Statistics Institute (INE) said on Monday.

Overall, 1.1 million foreigners travelled to Portugal in November, a record number for that month. Spaniards and Britons came second and third, with 131,000 and 124,000 travellers respectively, INE said in its monthly report.

The number of U.S. tourists has grown significantly in recent years as they increasingly find the southern European country cheap, sunny and safe.

Tourism, a key driver of Portugal’s economy, accounted for almost 15% of gross domestic product before the pandemic.

In the first 11 months of 2023, the number of foreign tourists visiting Portugal increased by 20% from the previous year to 17.4 million, already more than the previous annual record of 16.4 million reached in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic brought travel to a halt.

In a separate report, the INE said the number of passengers who travelled through Portuguese airports in November rose 8.5% compared with the previous year and jumped 12% versus November 2019.

($1 = 0.9145 euros)

(Reporting by Patrícia Vicente Rua; Editing by Inti Landauro and Alex Richardson)