Portugal - Tourism, travel, and recreation

Portugal's historic cities—Lisbon, Porto, Coimbra, and others—offer numerous museums, old churches, and castles. Most villages still celebrate market days with dances and other festivities. There are more than 800 km (500 mi) of beaches. The Portuguese bullfight (differing from the Spanish variety in that the bulls are not killed) is a popular spectator sport; the season lasts from Easter Sunday to October. Soccer is popular as both a participant and a spectator sport. Generally, a valid passport is required for entry, but air and sea travelers with an onward ticket may stay in Portugal for up to 10 days without a visa.

Tourism has become a major contributor of foreign exchange earnings ($5.2 billion in 2000) and a stimulus to employment and investment in the hotel industry and related services. The number of tourists was 12,096,680 in 2000. That year there were 97,709 hotel rooms with 222,958 beds and a 42% occupancy rate.

The daily cost of staying in Portugal, according to 2001 US government estimates, was between $97 and $165, with some rates varying by season.

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