January 20, 2022

Tourists return to Greece’s summer resorts

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greece-population-2014By Renee Maltezou, Reuters From Toronto Sun

Foreign tourists are returning to Greece’s sun-drenched islands and ancient temples, central bank data showed on Friday, boosting hopes that the key sector may help the crisis-hit country pull itself out of a severe economic recession.

Tourism figures have clearly benefited from comparison to last year, when speculation about Greece being forced out of the euro and fears of social unrest had scared away many visitors before the peak summer holiday season.

But Greece’s tourist industry is taking heart from data showing a 38.5% annual rise in receipts in May and a 15.5% increase in the first five months this year and predicts a bumper season.

“It’s a very positive sign,” Yannis Retsos, the head of Greece’s Hoteliers told Reuters. “I believe this upward trend will continue in the coming months. With the help of tourism, Greece could take a first step towards growth.”

Greece’s current account balance also swung to a small surplus in May, helped by a narrower trade gap and higher tourism receipts.

Tourism accounts for about 17% of output and one in five jobs in a country where unemployment has risen to about 27%. Tourism officials see a 10% revenue rise in 2013, to 11 billion euros, on the back of an expected record 17 million visitors, one million more than in 2012.

A popular destination mainly for Germans and Britons for decades, Greece is now attracting increasing numbers of tourists from Eastern Europe, with these markets accounting for about a fifth of total arrivals, a trend which is expected to continue.

DEPRESSED GREEKS

In the first six months of the year, foreign tourist arrivals increased 10% annually with summer resorts such as the Aegean island of Mykonos seeing a 60% increase in airport arrivals.

Although Greece expects more foreign visitors this year, domestic tourism – which accounts for up to 25% of total tourism revenues – has been severely hit and is seen remaining at last year’s depressed levels, tourism bodies have said.

Greek incomes are being severely squeezed, cut by about 30% on average since the crisis started 2009, with signs that some Greek families can no longer afford long summer vacation or frequent weekend escapes away from Athens to nearby islands.

A survey conducted earlier this month by the consumers’ institute INKA showed that more than two thirds of Greeks have not planned a summer holiday this year.

About 70% of the 545 respondents said that this was mainly due to financial reasons and 20% said job and income uncertainty had deterred them from making the decision.

The majority of Greek vacationers said their getaway would last up to five days and more than half of those polled said that they would stay with family or friends rather than spend money on hotels.

For more on this story and to vote go to:

http://www.torontosun.com/2013/07/19/tourists-return-to-greeces-summer-resorts

IMAGE: www.worldpopulationstatistics.com

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Tourism between Greece and Turkey is on the rise

tourists_390_2810By Stathis Kousounis From ekathimerini

The number of Turkish tourists visiting Greece this year is expected reach a historic high, while the corresponding figure for Greek visitors to Turkey is also set to soar.

The latest estimates see over 1 million Turkish tourists visiting Greece – a record number – while Turkey expects Greek visitors to reach 800,000 by year-end.

In the first nine months of the year Greek visitors to Turkey posted the largest growth rate among European markets (24 percent), as 631,344 people traveled to the neighboring country from Greece, figures from the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry show.

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Chinese are the rising force of Greek tourism

article3765.w_lBy Theo Ioannou From The TOC

Greece is among the main emerging destinations for Chinese tourists, the latest report by Union Pay International has found.

Greece is the country among those with an annual growth rate of about 200% in arrivals from the Asian nation in the last three years.

Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) data have shown a 132.1% increase in the number of Chinese tourists visiting Greece in 2013 compared with the previous year, reaching 28,328.

In fact the Association of Hellenic Tourism Enterprises (SETE) estimates that the number of Chinese tourist who visit the country and combine it with other destinations abroad is over three times higher.

This year the numbers are expected to soar further, while the Tourism Ministry recently announced the start of direct flights between Shanghai and Athens from June 15. The service will run until October 19.

The packages offered will concern visits to the capital as well as to various holiday destinations including the islands of Santorini and Myconos, as well as the picturesque mountain area of Meteora. Santorini is, after all, one of the most popular wedding spots for Chinese couples.

For more on this story go to: http://www.thetoc.gr/eng/news/article/chinese-are-the-rising-force-of-greek-tourism

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