GNTO figures show a rise in visitors

The number of tourists entering Greece in the first nine months of the year rose 2.6 percent, the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) said yesterday, in contrast to more downbeat figures given by industry officials. GNTO, which is controlled by the Tourism Ministry, said in a statement that Greece’s tourism sector is performing well at a time when other European countries are having difficulty drawing visitors. «In an uncertain environment, involving limited travel by tourists and economic difficulty for the European economy, Greece saw a 2.6 percent rise in tourism arrivals in comparison with the same period a year earlier,» GNTO said. Tourist arrival figures comprise visitors driving into Greece or flying into the country’s main airports. Tourism sector revenues for the January-to-July period also rose 6 percent year-on-year, the Greek National Tourism Organization added. Figures from the Association of Greek Tourist Enterprises (SETE) paint a different picture, showing a drop of some 4 percent in tourism business revenues from January to August. SETE figures also say that the number of tourists entering Greece remains unchanged from last year’s levels, as visitors driving into the country from Bulgaria and Romania offset a small drop in visitors flying in.