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Alt. Tourism Minister Hopeful for 2016, Greece Still Resilient

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Amid terror attacks, Turkey’s failed coup, Brexit and the refugee crisis, Greek tourism appears to be resilient, Alternate Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura told a press briefing on Wednesday.

The minister said she was hopeful that 2016 would come to a positive close in terms of arrivals, revenues and over night stays.

Citing data of a 5 percent increase in the number of international arrivals for the first half of 2016, Kountoura said that “after a record year, any increase is a success given the unpredictable external factors at play”, stressing that the terror attacks across Europe have inhibited people’s decision to travel.

According to the ministry’s latest figures, air traffic in the first half of 2016 grew by 4.4 percent or 5.937 million tourists with the highest increase in arrivals from Russia at 22.7 percent, the UK at 8.6 percent, Germany at 7.2 percent, France at 6.9 percent and Italy at 4.6 percent. 

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Minister Kountoura pointed out an “imbalance” in traffic among the Ionian islands, which have seen a considerable rise in the number of visitors compared to the Aegean islands which have recorded a decline. 

Tourism destinations set to record the greatest growth next month include Mykonos at 27.2 percent, Heraklion at 17.2 percent, Santorini at 17.9 percent, Corfu at 14.2 percent, Rhodes at 5.9 percent, Kalamata at 21.6 percent, Aktio at 10.8 percent, and  Preveza, Lefkada and Skiathos at 21.9 percent.

Meanwhile, the number of arrivals at regional airports for August are estimated to rise with flights from Italy up by 22.5 percent, Russia at 24.5 percent, France at 13.9 percent, the UK at 3.7 percent, Germany at 6.4 percent, Spain at 48 percent, and Turkey at 38.7 percent.

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