Tourism picks up in Greece, but without the Greeks

29 July, 11:42

    (ANSAmed) - ATHENS, JULY 29 - Foreign tourists are finding their way back to Greece's islands and ancient ruins, offering a rare boost to an economy contracting for the sixth year running as daily Kathimerini reports. Arrivals are on the up again after dismal 2012 figures but domestic tourism is at a standstill and Greece's second-tier destinations are more deserted than ever.

    The Association of Greek tourism enterprises (SETE) this month announced a 10% rise in foreign arrivals at airports for the first half of 2013. The Bank of Greece in turn announced that in the year running up to May 2013, tourism revenue had soared 38.5% and foreign arrivals 24%. It also said that tourism revenue grew 15% between January and May. Head of SETE Andreas Andreadis said that improved political stability compared to 2012, a drop in prices caused by the economic crisis as well as the cancellation of holidays to Turkey and Tunisia all contributed to the recovery. If the upward trend continues through the crucial months of July and August, the number of foreign visitors is expected to pass the 17 million mark in 2013, after dipping under 16 million last year. Much is at stake, as tourism makes up 17% of Greece's GDP, in a country where unemployment is close to 27%. (ANSAmed).

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