LISBON, Sept 13 (Reuters) - Portuguese hotel revenues picked up in July as the number of foreign tourists rose at the peak of the summer season, a positive sign for the recession-hit economy that heavily depends on tourism.
July revenues rose 1.5 percent from a year earlier, after falling 4 percent in June, and totalled more than 240 million euros as 915,000 foreigners checked into hotels. They surpassed local travellers by about a third, and spent more nights there on average than a year ago, the National Statistics Institute said on Thursday.
Still, hotel revenues in the first seven months of the year, at 1.01 billion euros, lagged 2 percent behind a year ago as check-ins by Portuguese travellers fell due to the bailed out country's economic slump.
The number of foreign tourists staying in Portuguese hotels rose about 4 percent in the seven months of the year to 4.3 million. The total number of hotel check-ins, however, dropped 1.5 percent to 7.75 million.
Tourism accounts for around 10 percent of Portugal's economy, which is going through 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)