Greek tourism anticipates double-digit increase in foreign visitors

The Greek tourism industry is anticipating a double-digit increase in foreign visitor arrivals this year, but the big wager remains whether this will translate into a corresponding rise in revenues capable of boosting the country's GDP.

Institute of Tourism Research and Forecasting (ITEP) chairman Prof. Dionyssis Hionis told ANA-MPA that a 4.5 percent increase in tourism revenue is forecast for 2011, representing a 1pct increase in GDP, with all that entails for a rise in employment, although it is still early to make specific predictions.

At this time, early bookings in hotels have posted a 3 percent increase over last year, although, he added, in the 'good years' for Greek tourism early bookings approached 25 percent

Hionis also anticipated that the unrest in Egypt will also give a boost to the tourist wave to Greece, with tour operators already preparing for that.

Hellenic Hotels Federation president Andreas Andreadis also anticipated a substantial increase in tourist arrivals of "a high single-digit or low double-digit" percentage. He added that early bookings from Britain have marked a 7-9 percent increase over last year, while interest was also high from such countries as Russia, France and Italy.

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