ECONOMY

Tourists to reach 17 million in 2013, says industry association

The Greek tourism sector is hoping to welcome and accommodate some 17 million international visitors this year. The estimate is based on figures regarding arrivals in some of the country’s major airports in the first five months of 2013.

According to data released by the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises(SETE), during the January-May period the sector observed a rise of 6.05 percent in arrivals compared to the previous year. According to SETE, 2,441,276 tourists visited Greece from January to May 2013, compared to 2,302,107 travelers in 2012.

In some cases, said the association, the increase in visitors was spectacular. Such was the case of the cosmopolitan Cycladic island of Myconos, where the January-May period saw an increase of 125.5 percent in visitors compared to the previous year. This was followed by a rise of 33.2 percent in Zakynthos, 29.5 percent in Kefallonia, 26.3 percent in Crete, 22.7 percent in Santorini, 23,9 percent in Corfu, 20.2 percent in Kos and 18.3 percent in Skiathos, among other destinations. Meanwhile, arrivals at Athens International Airport were down 5.5 percent in the same period.

Based on the above data and in view of the upcoming high summer season, industry professionals remained optimistic that this year’s arrivals figures would hit the 17 million mark.