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Tourism Statistics in Greece

This is a little dated but not so much that it matters....

Greece comes in the 15th place in the world classification of tourist destinations, receiving 14.179.999 tourists in 2002 (National Statistical Service of Greece, provisional data). The major part (94,3%) are originating from Europe (68,9% from the EU15). By plane came 73,6% of foreign tourists, by sea 5,6%, by road 20,1% and by train 0,6%.

The total number of nights spent in hotel accommodations by foreign and domestic tourists in 2001 (61.567.209) marked a 0,43% increase compared to 2000.

The accommodation capacity of the 8.550 hotels is 330.970 rooms with 628.170 beds (2003). Another 450.000 beds are provided by some 28.000 secondary accommodation establishments. There are also 352 camping sites with 30.241 pitches and 1.005 bungalows.

Besides the Hotel, Restaurants and Catering sector, there are about 8.000 travel agencies, rent-a-car agencies, and yacht-brokers.

Tourism contribution to the GDP is estimated up to 8%. The tourism receipts in 2002 were 10.285.000 euros.

Employment in the tourism sector is estimated to reach 10% (6,1% direct employment and 3,9% indirect) of the total employment in Greece.

One would think that since tourism is such an important part of the Greek economy (the most important actually) that there would be a stong partnership between the government and the travel agencies but this is not the case. Travel agents get little help from the government in promoting Greece abroad. (How mant ads for Greece have you seen on TV?). On top of that the government comes down very hard on travel agencies taking as much as 85% of the agency profits. In a country like Greece that depends upon tourism, the government should be working to make the business of travel lucrative in order to attract the best young people into the business and thus provide the best service. But in Greece the situation is that travel agents are just trying to stay in business. The government, which should be a helpful partner, ends up being an adversary, using the travel agents and the tourist industry as a source of revenue while offering nothing in return. This needs to change.

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