ECONOMY

Chinese, Russians bolster ailing tourism sector

The number of Chinese tourists visiting Greece shot up 542 percent in the first half of the year, as the Asian market grows in importance for the tourism sector, according to data provided by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT). The number of Chinese tourists rose to 9,264 from 1,442 in the same period a year earlier. Visitors from Asia accounted for 5.7 percent of Greece’s total tourist arrivals, rising from 3.1 percent last year. Russia also provided the sector with some support at a time when visitors from key markets, such as Germany and the United Kingdom, fell by an annual pace of between 5.5 and 11 percent. Nearly 120,000 Russians visited Greece between January and June, up 67.3 percent on the previous year. On a broader level, 4.65 million nonresidents visited the country’s shores in the six-month period, down 5.3 percent year-on-year, according to the ELSTAT data.