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Tourism cash boost for Greece

- by Jeremy Guest

Tourism cash boost for Greece.

Greek Island holiday visitors are helping to pull Greece out of its current economic troubles. Latest figures show that the remarkable rise in tourist visitors this summer is making a significant impact on Greece's debt laden recession. Foreign cash spent by tourists between January and July went up 15.5% this year netting an extra €768 million for the Greek economy and taking it to €5.68 billion.

Tourism receipts are now the country's biggest foreign-currency earner and suggest a good outlook for a balanced economy in the long term.

It has meant that the Greek current account deficit so far this year has been almost wiped out. The good financial situation has been helped by a big decline in fuel imports, according to latest data from the Bank of Greece.

Tourist visitors to Greece and the Greek Islands is forecast to rise at least 10% this year and net the country around €11 billion as more than 17 million visitors spend their cash on Greek holidays.

Hoteliers, restaurant owners and other holiday enterprises have slashed prices and upgraded services in an attempt to weather the financial crisis and tempt more visitors to Greek Island beaches.

Tourism experts say holiday visitors are staying longer and spending more on holiday with a big rise in big-spending Russian tourists this year.

There has been a 34% rise in Russian visitors to Greece this year and the Russians spend more on their holidays than the Germans or the British.