Greeks opt for holidays at home

Greeks are the European Union citizens most likely to spend their vacation in their own country, with nine in ten opting to stay home rather than travel abroad in 2004, Eurostat, the EU’s statistics service, revealed yesterday. An overwhelming 91 percent of Greeks chose a domestic destination for their holiday in 2004, closely followed by 88 percent of Spaniards and 83 percent of French, whose countries are also popular holiday destinations. Of some 9 percent of Greeks who traveled abroad, most chose European destinations, the survey showed. The highest percentage of outbound trips among EU states in 2004 was registered in Luxembourg, where 99 percent of the population traveled abroad for their holidays, and Belgium, where 73 percent left home. The survey showed Greece as having one of the EU’s highest increases in the number of nights spent in hotels last summer, boasting a 6.5 percent hike along with fellow member state Sweden. Greece ranked in sixth place regarding the total number of nights spent in hotels with 37 million overnight stays, after Italy with 126 million stays, Spain with 120 million, Germany with 83 million, France with 82.5 million and Great Britain with 80 million. Meanwhile, Tourism Minister Fanni Palli-Petralia revealed that tourist arrivals in Greece had increased by 10.5 percent last year, adding that all indications point to the continuation of this positive trend.