Greece suffered a 5% drop in tourists in the first five months of this year, compared with the same period of 2011.
However, the southern most island of Crete saw a 15% increase in arrivals and Corfu also saw a 5% rise in visitors, while Thessaloniki saw a 7% increase from January to May. Visitor numbers to the islands of Kos and Santorini remained stable.
Putting a brave face on the overall decline, Greek tourism officials described the country's tourism industry as "resilient".
The Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE) said: "It is important that we support the growth of one of Greece’s main development axes during this difficult time. It is uplifting to see that tourism has remained resilient during this time with only a small reduction in arrival numbers."
Dr. Andreas Andreadis, president of SETE, said: "Greece remains a very attractive and desirable destination. The arrival figures demonstrate that if we had no political instability, we would be in the position to say that we would be within our initial target of 16 million international arrivals.
"We are confident that the result of the forthcoming elections and the forming of the new government will provide the stability that the tourism sector needs at the moment."
Meanwhile Olympic Holidays, one of the biggest tour operators to Greece, has knocked up to 25% off some peak season holidays. See earlier story
By Linsey McNeill
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
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