Traffic dips in 2011 at Athens airport

Passenger traffic at Athens International Airport dropped 6.5 percent last year as the economic crisis squeezed travel spending, especially by Greeks.

The number of people passing through the country?s biggest airport fell to 14.4 million, from 15.4 million in 2010, according to a statement posted on the airport?s website on Monday.

Domestic passenger traffic declined 12 percent to 4.9 million and international traffic dropped 3.1 percent to 9.5 million, the company said.

Domestic and international passengers declined 11 percent in December to 304,600 and 562,350 respectively.

Tourism, Greece?s biggest industry, accounted for almost 16 percent of gross domestic product and almost one in five jobs in 2011, according to the London-based World Travel and Tourism Council. [Bloomberg]