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Tourism

Greece’s Tourism Revenues Shoot Up, The French Biggest Market

ATHENS – The COVID-19 pandemic, a record hot summer and unstoppable wildfires across the country are of little concern to tourists who just keep coming to Greece, sending revenues for the sector jumping.

The French were the biggest part of arrivals by country as the Bank of Greece said tourism revenues soared 1.1 billion euros ($1.29) in the first half of 2021 over the down year of 2020 when there were lockdowns and a near halt in international air traffic.

Greece was among the first to get out front in 2021 in attracting tourists, allowing entry early in July for those who were vaccinated, had negative PCR tests or could prove they had recovered from the Coronavirus.

If found infected while in the country, the government paid for them to be put into a quarantine hotel and fed, with at least one report so far from an American couple who were vaccinated they tested positive for the Delta Variant from Indian, which has become the dominant strain in Greece, making up almost 90 percent of rising daily cases.

Sales for travel to Greece in French travel agencies topped the sales list in July, exceeding even domestic destinations, according to the monthly barometer of publication L’Echo Touristique.

Sales for Greek destinations were 10 percent higher than July 2019, while competing countries couldn't keep up, including Spain, which annually attracts even more tourists, and with big drops shown in Italy, Turkey, Portugal and Tunisia, said the state-run Athens-Macedonia News Agency (ANA-MPA.)

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