ECONOMY

More than 1 mln French tourists expected to visit Greece in 2013

More than 1 million French tourists are expected to visit Greece this year, backing predictions of a very strong year for the debt-hit country’s tourism sector, Kathimerini understands.

French visitors are expected to inject about 900 million euros into the local economy by the end of 2013, Kathimerini said.

The number of French arrivals during the first half of 2013 is estimated at 358,000, up by 17.4 percent compared to the same period last year.

Meanwhile, revenue from French tourists went up by 30.7 percent over the same period, hovering at more than 255 million euros.

A total of 977,376 people travelled to Greece from France in 2012 spending 763.9 million euros, data show.

Bank of Greece statistics from last year showed that French tourists spent an average 781 euros during their stay.

Spending by foreign visitors is becoming the key growth driver for Greece’s economy, which is expected to shrink 4.2 percent this year.

Tourism receipts, Greece’s biggest foreign-currency driver, rose 21 percent year-on-year to 1.59 billion euros in June, the first month of the country’s busy summer holiday season.