ECONOMY

Tourism slump hurts series of sectors

The decline in tourism, both domestic and from abroad, has resulted in a 24 percent annual drop in turnover in the sectors of accommodation and food catering, according to data for the year?s first quarter released this week by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT).

This comes after a 20.6 percent drop posted in the first quarter of 2011 compared to the same period in 2010. In fact, the sector has not seen an increase in its turnover index since January-March 2010.

A side effect of the drop in tourism was the decrease in takings at museums and archaeological sites by a remarkable 31.8 percent in the year?s first couple of months compared to the same period in 2011, according to ELSTAT. Receipts amounted to 1,128,632 euros, against 1,654,687 euros in January-February last year. The number of visitors to museums fell 19.3 percent, while visitor figures for archaeological sites increased by 35.6 percent.

Meanwhile sources say that the general secretary of the Greek National Tourism Organization, Giorgos Koletsos, recently sent a circular to all of its offices abroad informing them that the GNTO intends to embark on a new public relations campaign.

The circular reportedly refers to familiarization trips for journalists and travel agents and the arrangement of special events, which will have to be aligned with the strategy for the development and promotion of Greek tourism and the priorities set for the differentiation of the tourism product, the highlighting of the country?s particular characteristics and the extension of the tourism period aimed at an improvement in tourism accommodation occupancy rates.