Greek holidays on the rebound.
2013 is looking like a rebound year for holidays in the Greek islands after a 20% rise is early bookings for Greek hotel owners. Demand for holiday bookings in Greece is being led by the UK, with developing tourism markets like Russia, Ukraine, Israel and Turkey with a big rise in the Aegean cruise market adding to good news.
It follows a difficult 2012 when tourists were scared off by political and social unrest over the tough austerity measures imposed by the EU and international bankers.
The latest figures were announced by the Association of Hellenic Tourism Enterprises which the British holiday market got Greece is reporting a rise of 20% this year while Germany, France and Scandinavian countries are showing growth of 15% on last year.
But the domestic market is still looking poor as Greeks are still suffering from harsh austerity measures and cutting back on holidays which have dropped by half since the economic crisis year of 2009.
Tourism experts are hoping to reach a target of 17 million foreign tourists this year and €11 billion euros in revenues from tourism related industries.
Hotel owners say a few crucial measures to boost the holiday market could take tourist visitors over the 20 million market in the next two to three years adding some 3% to the country's faltering economy and creating thousands of new jobs.
The Association is calling on the Greek government to speed up visa issues for East European countries and to cut the 23% VAT rate on restaurants as well as ease property taxes on hotels.