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Greece Lags Behind Competitors During First Half Of The Year

Greek tourism was not at its best in the first half of the year compared to competing countries such as Turkey, Cyprus and Spain, the Greek press said last month. This was mainly due to negative publicity abroad during the two election periods.

Specifically, international arrivals to Greece dropped six percent during the January-June period to 4,979,483 against 5,294,556 during the same period last year, data released by the Civil Aviation Authority said.

In June alone, international arrivals dropped 3.3 percent to 1,972,736 against 2,040,695 compared with the corresponding month last year.

Tourism revenue did not show a good sign either, since, according to the Bank of Greece, January-May travel receipts declined by 12.5 percent in the first five months of 2011. Travel receipts just for the month of May fell by 13.9 percent to 513.6 million from 587.2 million the same month last year.

Turkey also showed a drop but on a smaller scale. Arrivals of foreign tourists to the country decreased by 2.3 percent in the first half of 2012 to 12,723,978 tourists from 13,027,494 during the same period in 2011, according to the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry.

On the other hand, Cyprus seemed to be maintaining the upward trend of the previous year. The Statistical Service of Cyprus said international arrivals to the country were up by 2.8 percent during the first six months of the year to 899,436 from 874,802 the same period last year. In June alone, arrivals were up by 9.7 percent to 329,977 from 300,817 the same month of 2011.

Spain saw a 2.9 increase for the January-July period to 25,150,430 arrivals, according to the Spanish Institute for Tourism IET.

German visitors to Spain were said to have increased by 5.7 percent.

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