Greece’s Tourists Came in Big Numbers, Spent Big Too

(Photo by IconPress/Christos Doudoumis, FILE)

Another record-breaking tourism year for Greece brought some badly-needed revenues, unlike in 2016 when visitors came but spent far less than hoped.

Data showed that total tourism-related revenues in Greece posted a significant increase in July 2017, compared to the corresponding month of 2016, up 14.2 percent although per capita spending was up only 1.1 percent, the business newspaper Naftemporiki said.

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) reported that Greece was leading Spain – a Mediterranean “rival” in terms of holiday destinations and stepping up in key indicators in hopes of moving up in world rankings for total numbers of visitors.

But in what could offset hopes for continuing records next year, the figures showed that Turkey, where visitors had stayed away because of political instability, riots, terrorism threats and the attempted coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan jumped 47.6 percent in the same period, showing people were willing to return there but not spending as much.

Croatia, another top Mediterranean draw, saw a 35.3 percent jump in June figures.

In 2016, Greece’s ruling Radical Left SYRIZA-led coalition said it was a great year for spending, contradicting an independent report from the National Bank of Greece which said it wasn’t, citing real figures and not political opinions.