Holiday homeowners with properties in Portugal should expect to be busy over the next few years as the country makes a concerted effort to attract even more tourists.

Already, Portugal is one of Europe's most popular destinations for international holidaymakers, with millions visiting each year to enjoy its beaches, culture, history and world-class golf courses.

However, according to the country's president Anibal Cavaco Silva, even more can be done to attract tourists, meaning greater effort will be placed on selling the country overseas over the coming months.

Responding to an open letter from the World Travel and Tourism Council, the premier noted that a vibrant tourism industry is vital to the country's economic wellbeing, a sentiment holiday homeowners with properties in Portugal would surely agree with.

"Tourism is very important for jobs and exports in Portugal," he said, adding that his government will be working to promote the country around the world, and not just in the traditional markets of western Europe, "as this is a critical factor" of future growth.

President Silva's comments come shortly after the Portuguese National Statistics Institute reported that the number of tourists visiting the country has risen over the past few months, despite the global economic climate.

According to the official data, some 6.2 million foreign tourists visited Portugal over the first nine months of 2012, with many of these staying in holiday homes rather than hotels or hostels.

While the number of domestic tourists was seen to fall over the same period, these figures have been welcomed by the tourism sector, including by holiday home owners, not least as visitors collectively spent several billion euros on their holidays.

As always, the biggest draws for tourists included the Algarve, which boasts some of Europe's best beaches and golf courses of the Algarve.

At the same time, the historic cities of Lisbon and Porto were also popular with international tourists, including UK holidaymakers in search of a cultural fix and some sun.