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Holiday visitors to Greece top 20 million

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Greek Island holiday visitors have topped the 20 million mark this year, according to the latest figures.

Tourist arrivals to Greece in the nine months from January to September jumped more than 17% compared to the same period last year.

It looks set to make 2015 another record year for Greek holiday tourism and puts the country on track to break through the 25 million mark by the end of the season.

According to data from the Bank of Greece, more than 20.6 million tourists have visited Greek holiday resorts and beaches this year.

And visiting tourists have had more holiday spending money than last year with income from tourism and travel up 4.7% to reach €12.57 million.

UK holidaymakers, in particular, had lots of cash to spend with British tourists spending €1.75 million more than last year, a rise of more than 25%.

European visitors overall were among the big spenders with receipts up 10.5% while spending by visitors from outside Europe dropped more than 5%.

Increased tourism has come despite Greece's economic turmoil in recent years and the current refugee crisis appearing to have had little effect on those considering a Greek Island holiday.

Other factors that may have helped to bolster confidence in the Greek holiday market this year have been the continuing troubles in Egypt and Turkey, two to Greece's biggest competitors for sunshine holidays.

Other factors have been the good exchange rate with the euro and the lower prices for Greek holidays this year.

Tourist arrivals from Germany have shown a sharp turnaround after a year in the doldrums with tourist cash spending by German holidaymakers also up 7.4%.

Visitors from the USA have enjoyed some very cheap holiday deals his year thanks to the weakness of the euro against the dollar.

The continued popularity of Greek Island holidays has been welcomed by the local tourist industry which has major plans to boost next year's numbers.

Plans in the pipeline include extending the holiday season beyond the traditional May to September season, promoting more health and sports tourism and improving inter-island communications with the possible launch of inter-island seaplane services in 2016.

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