Portuguese museums received 15.5 million visitors in 2016, 1.8 million more than in 2015, and this increase was mainly due to foreigners, the National Statistics Institute (INE) said on Tuesday.
According to the annual statistics roundup for the Culture sector, in 2016, Portuguese museums welcomed 15.5 million visitors, of when 6.7 million were foreigners. In 2015, the number of foreign visitors was 5.2 million.
The INE’s figures were collected from 405 Portuguese museums, out of a total of 727open in 2016, based on five criteria: having at least one exhibition hall, at least one curator or higher technician, budget and inventory, and being open to the public.
About 34 percent of people visited museums for free and 12.5 percent were visitors in school groups.
The most visited in 2016 were Art Galleries (with a 6.8 percent increase), Historical Museums and Specialised Museums.
Portuguese art galleries and other temporary exhibition spaces put on 7,731 exhibitions in 2016, mainly focused on painting and photography.
For figures on cinema, the INE referred to the statistics of the Institute of Cinema and Audiovisuals, according to which, in 2016, cinemas had audiences totalling 14.9 million people and €77.2 million in ticket revenue, or 358,000 more people and €2.2 million than in 2015.
A total of 182 Portuguese films were screened, accounting for just 2.3 percent of total audiences and 2.1 percent of box office receipts.
In 2016, there were 557 cinemas in Portugal, with a total of 104,729 seats.
Meanwhile, despite improvements in the cinema and museum sectors, local authority spending on cultural activities in Portugal has dropped. Last year, it totalled around €386 million, or a drop of €6.5 million compared to 2015, the National Statistics Institute (INE) announced.
According to the INE’s annual statistical report on Culture, this decrease was due to a 52.2 percent reduction in capital expenditureof €46.9 million.
Overall, in 2016 there was an increase in cultural expenditure in the municipalities of the autonomous regions of the Azores and Madeira, and in the metropolitan areas of Lisbon and Algarve, but spending was cut in the regions of central and northern Portugal and in the Alentejo.
The largest share of municipal spending on culture - €111.2 million - was for interdisciplinary activities, half of which went to supporting cultural and recreational organisations.
The performing arts were funded with €87.9 million by local authorities, while cultural heritage accounted for €78.9 million of spending on culture.
Municipal libraries and archives were allocated €66.4 million.
In total, spending on cultural activities accounted for 5.2 percent of local authority budgets in 2016.