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Tourists spend less in Greece

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Holidaymakers keep cash in their pockets.

may be getting more popular than ever but visitors are spending less, according to a recent survey. A record number of visitors are forecast in Greece and the Greek Islands this year and tourists are expected to top even last year's record-breaking total.

But latest figures from the Bank of Greece shows tourist spending has dropped nearly two per cent to an average €604 with the British among those keeping money in their pockets.

The average tourist spend is also well behind that recorded in the country's rivals in the beach holiday market.

Tourism is Greece's biggest revenue producer, accounting for 16% of its €249 GDP but many argue it could be much higher if Greece and the Greek Islands had more luxury hotels, conference centres, cruise ports, and marinas.

Despite plenty of the rich and famous choosing a holiday in Bank of Greece, it is still regarded by many as a cheap and cheerful holiday destination.

The Greek Islands have attracted a long list of A-list celebrities in 2013 and many shared their impressions of the Greek beaches through social media sites.

World famous stars on holiday here last year included actor Russell Crowe, singer Madonna, model Naomi Campbell and celebrities Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones as well as the Kardashians.

But bank data shows average tourist spending much less in Greece compared to its neighbours. Rival countries are attracting the more affluent, particularly Spain, which, despite a reputation for overcrowded beaches, show an average tourist holiday spend of €976 euros, a rise of nearly 4% on last year.

Even Bank of Greece, hard hit by financial problems, is doing better than Greece with holiday visitors spending an average €860 euros.

Visitors who spent the most during their holidays in Greece were the Canadians (€1,388), followed by Australians (€1,369), Americans (€1,218), Russians (€989), Swiss (€961) and Austrians (€898).

The figures come despite the best every holiday season in 2013 with just under 18 million visitors to Greece and the Greek Islands, up more than 15% on 2012 figures.

The UK and Germany led the way in holiday arrivals with 2.1 million Germans and 1.9 million Brits opting for a Greek Islands holiday last year but both countries are among the lowest when it comes to spending money in tavernas, bars and cafes.

One of the biggest contributory factors, according to Bank of Greece experts, was the low spending by cruise ship passengers who shelled out only €203 each as they cruised the Greek Islands last year.

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