ECONOMY

Shipping revenues up 13 pct in 2010; another bad tourism year

Revenues from the shipping sector, a crucial source of income for the Greek economy, rebounded in 2010, while the tourism sector had another bad year, according to data from the Bank of Greece released on Friday.

Revenues from Greek ship-owners, who control about a fifth of the global fleet, rose 13 percent to 15.4 billion euros after dipping by 30 percent to 13.5 billion in the previous year, the data showed.

Improving global trade created better conditions for Greek shipowners that have been doing more business with China and India.

On the downside, income from Greece?s tourism sector, which accounts for about 18 percent of economic activity, fell for a second straight year.

Tourism revenues in 2010 fell 7 percent to 9.6 billion euros after dipping 10.6 percent in 2009 to 10.4 billion euros, Bank of Greece said.

In a bid to help boost the sector, the government announced recently that it will lower the tax applicable on hotels to 6.5 percent from 11 percent.

The sector is also seen as getting a boost this season from the civil unrest that recently shook Egypt.

On a broader economic level, Greece?s current account deficit narrowed to 7 percent for 2010 to 24 billion euros as the recession resulted in falling consumption.

?The year-on-year decrease started in July 2010,? the bank said.

?The result for 2010 as a whole reflects mainly a fall in the trade deficit and a rise in the surplus of the services balance,? it added.

For the month of December, the drop in the current account deficit was sharper, falling by 38.5 percent to 1.89 billion euros.