Greece trails its competitors in tourism

Tourist arrivals in Greece fell by more than 1 percent in the first 10 months of the year, the worst performance among all markets it directly competes against, with Turkey outperforming the pack, according to figures made public yesterday. Greece’s tourism industry accounts for about 20 percent of annual economic growth and is seen as being a key factor in determining the performance of the country’s economy next year. The data, compiled by the Institute of Tourism Research and Forecasting (ITEP), showed that the number of tourists entering Greece via main airports between January and October fell 1.4 percent. «The tourism sector has started to feel the first impacts of the crisis. With the exception of Turkey and Croatia, all of Greece’s competitive markets saw a drop in tourists between January and October,» ITEP said in a statement. Tourism arrivals in Turkey rose 15.5 percent year-on-year while Croatia showed a 2.2 percent rise in visitors over the same period. Greece’s other main competitors – Italy, Spain, and Cyprus – reported a drop in tourist numbers ranging from 0.6 to 1.4 percent. Figures for Portugal were unchanged from 2007. Next year will be a difficult year for the industry and the impact of the financial crisis will depend on measures adopted, ITEP added.