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Business, tourists agree: Portugal a bargain

Tourists in Portugal have increased 5 percent this year and are spending up to 25 percent more than last year. Analysts credit the country's stabilized low prices for part of the attraction for families. Movie theater tickets -- for some of the world's newest cinematic offerings -- sell for only $1.60 (US), ice cream cones for 39 cents, packaged yogurt for 18 cents, and an electric train ride of 45 minutes to the beaches at Estoril and Cascais for 44 cents.

Now a more official kind of recognition of Portugal's low prices has come from the ninth edition of Britain's wages-and-prices survey put out by the Confederation of British Industry. This compilation compares living costs in Western European cities -- probably with an eye to helping curtail company expense accounts. But there's a strong, maybe unintentional, plug for Portugal in the text.

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