BUSINESS

Athens among top tourism destinations

By Stathis Kousounis

Athens is among the top destinations both in Europe and the world for 2015 according to leading international travel website TripAdvisor.

The lists that are published on an annual basis and enjoy worldwide publicity are compiled on the feedback of the website’s users from around the world. Athens ranks 20th among the top 25 destinations in the world for 2015, and 10th in the list of top European destinations. The No 1 destination in the world is Marrakech, in Morocco, while for Europe the top choice is Istanbul.

The list of the most popular destinations within Greece has Hania on Crete and Imerovigli on Santorini following Athens in the top three. The other destinations in the Greek top 10 are two more locations on Santorini, Oia and Fyra, as well as Hersonissos, Rethymno and Apokoronas on Crete, Myconos town and Tsilivi on Zakynthos.

Meanwhile the year has started with a 50 percent annual rise in visitors from abroad and a 9.1 percent increase in revenues, according to data released this week by the Bank of Greece. Arrivals in January came to 606,100, while tourism revenues totaled 169.7 million euros. The travel balance posted a surplus of 11 million euros against a surplus of 5 million euros in January 2014.

The biggest increase in travel receipts in January came from British (up 57 percent) and French tourists (41.8 percent), the BoG data showed. There was a marginal increase of 0.5 percent in terms of German visitors. A predictable 61.2 percent decline was recorded in revenues from Russian tourists, while takings from US visitors were down 29.2 percent.

In terms of January arrivals, the biggest year-on-year growth was seen in visitors from France (up 66.4 percent) and the US (55.7 percent). A whopping 50.8 percent more Britons and 29.7 percent more Germans visited Greece in January compared to a year earlier, while the number of Russians fell 69.3 percent, central bank figures revealed.

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