Drop in tourism arrivals contained

Losses for Greek tourism are contained so far this year according to data regarding international arrivals at the country?s main airports released on Thursday by the Association of Hellenic Tourism Enterprises (SETE).

Arrivals posted a 3.1 percent yearly decline in the year?s first eight months, dropping from 8,833,785 in the January-August 2011 period to 8,559,165 this year. However, with the exception of the country?s main and costliest airport, arrivals are showing a small rise from last year, with Athens International Airport experiencing a 13.6 percent drop in the number of visitors to the country compared to 2011.

Nevertheless, in August the yearly decline in arrivals amounted to just 1 percent, as bookings from foreign markets increased pace following the election results in June and the formation of a stable government. Arrivals this August amounted to 2,226,201, down from 2,249,466 in 2011.

Cephalonia airport reported an annual increase of 14 percent last month, followed by Myconos (13.7 percent) and Hania (11.6 percent), while Kavala saw arrivals shrink by 18.9 percent, Samos by 13.3 percent and Athens by 10 percent.

The Russian market is proving the driving force behind the rebound of local tourism in the latter part of the year and is close to cancelling out losses from traditional markets such as the German and the British. For the first time Russians arriving at Iraklio airport outnumbered other nations at 69,989 in August alone. On Rhodes the increase in arrivals from Russia amounted to 57.5 percent year-on-year, while there was also a 2.1 percent rise in visitors from the United Kingdom.

Zakynthos reported a surprising increase in Italian arrivals, amounting to 61.6 percent from August 2011, while visitors from Russia increased by 39.4 percent. German arrivals dropped 7.5 percent and those from Britain by 3.3 percent.

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