Tourist arrivals from the UK rose by 7 percent this year belying an initial projection of a 4 to 5 percent increase, the Greek National Tourist Organization (GNTO) said yesterday. The figures were compiled from reservations made by UK tourists in the May 2000-August 2001 period for this summer. Compared with 1996, this year’s incoming tourists marked a massive 73-percent jump. Greece also managed to boost its share of the UK market to 18.5 percent this year at the expense of Spain. Five years ago, it held a 12.3-percent market share, the tourist body said. UK tourist agencies are optimistic that the trend will continue in the years ahead, with a forecast of more than 3 million tourists visiting Greece, GNTO said. The tourist organization’s statistics showed a preference among UK tourists for the popular Greek islands of Cephalonia and Skiathos which reported the biggest increases, 22 percent and 18 percent respectively. Halkidiki came in third place, with a 15-percent rise. Hotspots like Corfu and Rhodes also continued to draw the crowds, maintaining market shares of 3.4 percent and 3 percent, respectively. The former noted a 4 percent surge in UK tourists and the latter a 12-percent increase. The company has also signed a service provision deal with Greek electronic appliance retailer Germanos.