ECONOMY

Tourism arrivals and revenues drop

Hellenic Statistical Authority data showed yesterday that tourism arrivals from abroad contracted by 5.3 percent in the year’s first three months, compared to the same period in 2009. With tourism receipts in May alone posting a 9.6 percent annual decline, the picture for the industry looks rather bleak this year. Arrivals in the January-March period came to 980,411, down from 1,035,182 in the first quarter of last year. What is more drastic is the considerable drop in tourism from Great Britain, as arrivals from this major market for Greece in the first three months of the year came to just 59,339 against 70,924 last year, a 16.3 percent drop. There was also a 15 percent drop from France and a 23.8 percent fall in arrivals from non-European Union countries in Europe. Arrivals from Germany also contracted, from 117,336 last year to 107,761 in the January-March 2010 period, an 8.2 percent decline. Arrivals from Europe, which accounts for 85 percent of the entire market for Greece, showed a 5.1 percent drop, although there was 2.2 percent growth from EU countries. This is mostly attributed to the impressive growth in arrivals from Cyprus, which almost doubled (98.1 percent higher) over last year, growing from 56,557 to 112,055. Bank of Greece data released yesterday also indicated an 11.5 percent decline in Greek travelers’ expenditure abroad over the first five months of the year, reaching 858 million euros against 970.4 million euros in the same period in 2009. However in May alone this figure grew by 6.1 percent to 172.2 million euros from 162.3 million in May 2009.