Crisis spoils appetite for Greece

With the Greek economy headed for a deeper-than-expected recession this year, data released yesterday showed that the vital tourism industry will see fewer arrivals from Germany this summer due to the crisis. Visitors from Germany, one of the Greek tourism sector’s key markets along with Britain, are seen considering other destinations, leading to a decline in travel bookings for the Mediterranean country, according to German newspaper Welt am Sonntag. Revenue from Greek tourism packages being sold in Germany has declined 6 percent so far this year, compared with a 1 percent increase in overall bookings, the data showed. Greece’s need for an EU-IMF bailout package, which will include more than 8 billion euros from Germany, has prompted an outcry from German newspapers claiming that the country is being unfairly forced to pay for Greek mismanagement and waste. The performance of Greece’s tourism industry, which accounts for about 18 percent of annual economic output, will largely determine the depth of the recession this year. Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou said yesterday that the Greek economy is seen contracting at an annual rate of 4 percent in 2010, ahead of an additional 2.6 percent drop off in gross domestic product next year. The socialist government’s previous forecast for this year projected growth of 0.30 percent but Papaconstantinou recently admitted that this is no longer attainable.

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