- Tourism in Portugal
Portugalattracts many tourists each year. In 2006, the country was visited by 12,8 million tourists. [ [http://jornal.publico.clix.pt/noticias.asp?a=2007&m=01&d=31&uid=&id=119136&sid=13209 Três milhões de espanhóis visitaram Portugal em 2006] . January 31, 2007. Público.] Tourism is playing an increasingly important role in Portugal's economy contributing with about 5% of the the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The main tourist areas are, by order of importance, the
Greater Lisbon("Lisboa"), the Algarve, Portuguese Islands ("Ilhas Portuguesas": Madeiraand Azores), Greater Portoand Northern Portugal (" Portoe Norte") and Alentejo.
Lisbon is, after
Barcelona, the European city attracting most tourists, with 7 million tourists sleeping in the city's hotels in 2006, the number grew 11.8% compared to previous year. [ [http://dn.sapo.pt/2007/01/25/economia/cidades_atraem_mais_turistas_que_des.html DN Online: Cidades atraem mais turistas do que os destinos sol e mar ] ] Lisbon in recent years surpassed the Algarve as the leading tourist region in Portugal. Porto and Northern Portugal, especially the urban areas north of Douro River, was the tourist destination which grew most (11.9%) in 2006. Today, most tourists in Portugal are British, Spanish or German, travel in low cost airliners, and are not only in search of the beach and the sun, but mostly searching culture, city breaks, gastronomy, nautical tourismor travel in business.
Tourist hotspots in Portugal are Lisbon, the Algarve and Madeira, but the Portuguese government is currently developing new destinations: the Douro Valley,
Porto Santo Island, and Alentejo.
Portugal has several other tourism regions such as Douro Sul, Templários, Dão-Lafões, Costa do Sol, Costa Azul, Planície Dourada, etc. Most of them are unknown to tourists and locals alike. As of
2007, these are being reorganized.
All these regions are grouped in tourism reference areas, which are widely known due to the fact that these are the traditional regions:
*Costa Verde — The Portuguese green coast comprises all the northern coast of Portugal from the estuary of the
Minho Riverto the city of Porto.
*Costa da Prata — Silver coast. The coast of central Portugal from Porto to Lisbon.
*Costa de Lisboa — Lisbon coast. The coast of the capital city and its important suburbs.
*Montanhas — Mountainous and interior regions of northern and central Portugal, namely
Serra da Estrelaand Trás-os-Montes.
*Planícies — The Portuguese plane region of Alentejo in the south.
*Algarve — The southern coast of Portugal.
*Madeira — The
*Açores — The
* [http://www.visitportugal.com Portugal Official Tourism Website]
*dmoz|Regional/Europe/Portugal/Travel_and_Tourism|Portugal travel and tourism
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