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Greece tourist numbers up

Greece tourist numbers up.

Tourist arrivals in Greece grew more than 4% in the five months to the end of May, compared to 2010 figures. In a monthly report based on tourists arriving in the country by air, the Federation of Hellenic Tourism Enterprises (SETE) said tourist arrivals hit 2,405,030 in the five-month period, up from 2,300,959 last year with May showing the biggest rise.

The increase in tourist visitors has come despite serious economic problems for Greece this year.

Street riots, road blockades and protest marches have taken place in the capital of Athens over the Government's tough austerity measures.

Greece is one of the world's top 20 tourist destinations, attracting about 15 million visitors annually and about 2.3 million from Britain. 

Tourism experts have predicted that tourist revenues could grow by up to 10 percent in 2011 after two years of sharp decline.

Tourism now accounts for about 16% of Greece's €230 billion economy and employs 746,000 people, roughly one fifth of the Greek workforce.

About 14% of tourists are German and 12% are from Britain with France, Italy and the US making up the bulk of the market, although increasing numbers of Russians and East Europeans have begun to arrive.

Meanwhile, domestic tourism in Greece is predicted fall 20% this year, compared with 2010. The room rental sector, which attracts most Greek tourists has about 500,000 beds but rising insecurity over finances is expected to trigger a slump in the market. 

Domestic tourism Greece fell nearly 13% in the summer season last year, according to the Panhellenic Federation of Hoteliers.

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