ECONOMY

Domestic tourism is flagging

The financial crisis has taken a toll on domestic tourism as the number of arrivals from flights within Greece dropped by 11.6 percent in the January-to-July period this year compared to 2010.

Arrivals amounted to 3.26 million in the year to July against 3.69 million last year, vindicating estimates for a significant decline in domestic tourism. Sector professionals estimate the drop this year to amount to 20 percent from last year.

The decline is moderated thanks to the foreign tourists who use domestic flights while in Greece. Notably, the decline was only at 1 percent in July, from July 2010.

As far as foreign arrivals are concerned, in the year?s first seven months they grew by 8.3 percent from last year, reaching 7.86 million against 7.25 million in 2010. An even greater growth, of 13 percent year-on-year, was recorded in arrivals by charter flights.

Tourism experts stress that the growth in foreign arrivals would have been greater had it not been for the riots in Athens this summer and the 18-day taxi strike.