ECONOMY

Tourism sees revenues rebound in August

Greek tourism has been showing an improvement in the latter half of this year as, according to official figures, it has managed to considerably reduce the losses that the first half had shown compared to 2011 and even posted a year-on-year increase in takings for the month of August.

Civil Aviation Authority data for the first nine months of 2012 showed that arrivals from abroad at all of the country?s airports went down by 3.6 percent from the same period last year, amounting to 11,739,571, compared to 12,176,507 in 2011. This is a far smaller drop than that registered in the first few months of the year.

September saw a decline that amounted only to 1.2 percent, with 1,870,202 arrivals from abroad against 1,893,605 arrivals in September 2011.

Figures for Greek tourism issued by the Bank of Greece are even more encouraging, pointing to an increase in arrivals from Russia and Great Britain, against a decline in visitors from Germany and France. Furthermore, tourism revenues in the year?s first eight months declined by only 3.5 percent ? against original fears for a decline of over 10 percent ? reaching 7.5 billion euros. In August alone, the most important month as far as tourism is concerned, sector revenues recorded an annual increase of 2.9 percent, reaching up to 2.5 billion euros.

While its competitors Cyprus, Spain and Turkey have all registered tourism growth this year, Greece has been in negative tourism territory owing to the political instability in the first half of the year and the twin general elections during which the country was the subject of a slew of negative publicity abroad. However, after the formation of the coalition government in June and as the fear of an exit from the eurozone receded, Greece started clawing back its way to recovery.