Even as Greece slashes public sector spending and the stock market craters, tourism is keeping many businesses alive. Some resort towns are even booming, reports the New York Times.
Tourist receipts rose 12% to a record $15 billion, with a surge in foreign arrivals offsetting declines in domestic tourism. Tourism accounts for one fifth of Greece’s economy and jobs.
Foreign tourists came above all from Britain and Germany. They also came from Russia following the lifting of visa restrictions. They also came to Greece to dodge riots (seriously!) in other Mediterranean destinations like Egypt.
NYT’s Niki Kitsantonis reports from Greece:
In places like the Cretan port of Rethymno, the debt crisis seemed a distant concept at times. During a recent visit, restaurants were full all along the coastal promenade.
“Our foreign customers have always been our bread and butter,” Maria Stavroulaki, the owner of the Knossos tavern, said one late-summer night. “They saved us this year, too.”
Bear in mind this is with Greece in the euro. We can only imagine the boom if Greece returned to the drachma.
And here’s Greece’s latest tourism ad:
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