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More holiday Brits fly to Greece

tui planes

Record numbers booking Greek Islands holidays.

More Brits than ever before are flying out to take their holiday break in the Greek Islands according to latest travel industry figures.

As the main Greek holiday season gets under way, travel operator TUI, says more than two million tourists from Britain are expected to travel to Greece and the Greek Islands this summer.

The influx of foreign tourist cash is welcome news for hard pressed Greeks who still face tough austerity measures and sharp cuts in services as the government grapples with its heavy debt burden.

According to holiday industry leaders, Greece is expected to welcome around 20 million visitors this year, up on last year's record of 17.5 million.

Cheap flight holidays to Greece have become a rising feature in brochures this year as cut-price airlines like easyJet have opened up new routes to many of the more popular Greek Islands.

But the surge in demand has resulted in a sharp rise in hotel room prices this year, especially on the most popular island such as Mykonos and which has seen prices double in the top resorts.

Airports welcomed around 187,000 more tourists in May this year compared to May 2013 with islands like Corfu, Skiathos, Samos and Zante recording a 20% increase in visitor numbers.

According to the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises SETE, tourist arrivals in Greek airports has increased right across the board, with a 30% rise in arrivals in the capital city of Athens.

Hotel owners in Athens now claim to be 100% full with the increase in tourist arrivals and in conference events creating a high demand for rooms. It was only a year ago that hotels in Athens were closing for lack of customers.

Athens has seen a 10% rise in holiday visitors so far this year, Kos reports and 8% increase and on Crete its around 6%.

Revenues from tourism are also up, with foreign visitors spending 15% more in the first four months of 2014, compared to last year according to the Association of Hellenic Tourism Enterprises SETE

Last year, industry analysts were worried at the low average amount spent per visit to the Greek islands at just €660 per head, one of the lowest in the Mediterranean.

And it's the British who appear to have more cash to spend on holiday with average spending up a massive 50.5% between January and April this year while average spending per trip has risen 6.2% on last year.

This year's average holiday spend looks set to top €700 while arrivals forecast to jump to 19 million, or 21 million when cruise visitors are included.

Tourism is expected to give an important boost to Greek economy as its is one of the county's main cash earners. Tourism revenues overall so far are up 27.8% at €900.2 million.

Data released by the Bank of Greece prove that the increase both in tourist arrivals on Greek Island holidays and the spending levels per trip are the main reason for the latest boost to the Greek economy.

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