Tourism keeps economy alive


Tourism is the only engine powering the economy at the moment, as virtually all other sectors have slipped into a stagnation that is dragging the country back into recession. Evidence of the sector’s strength could be seen in data issued on Thursday that showed an increase in tourism traffic and car registrations as well as a drop in the unemployment and consumer price indices in recent months.

Deflation persisted for a 28th month, with prices dropping 2.2 percent year-on-year in June, the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) reported, adding that service prices went down and food grew more expensive. It also said that unemployment fell to 25.6 percent in April from 25.8 percent the previous month, as seasonal jobs flourished.

The Bank of Greece reported 45.6 percent annual growth in tourism arrivals in the first quarter of the year, and a 9.5 percent increase in revenues, while Athens International Airport yesterday announced a 21.4 annual rise in last month’s passenger traffic. Tourism growth also led new car registrations to increase 21.7 percent in June year-on-year, according to ELSTAT.