Greece’s tourism boom protecting weak economy

Greek tourism confederation finds industry accounts for 80 per cent of new jobs

Tourists visit the ancient Acropolis hill: some 750,000 holidaymakers visited Greece between January and August. Photograph: Milos Bicanski/Getty Images

Tourists visit the ancient Acropolis hill: some 750,000 holidaymakers visited Greece between January and August. Photograph: Milos Bicanski/Getty Images

 

Figures released by Greece’s tourism confederation, SETE, reveal the extent to which the sector is protecting Europe’s weakest economy.

With a 6.5 per cent increase in tourist arrivals at major airports between January and August – the equivalent of about 750,000 holidaymakers – the industry accounted for eight out of 10 new jobs.

Extrapolating ministry of labour data, the confederation said 210,226 of the 253,945 positions created in that time were either in tourist accommodation or restaurants. Unemployment, still the worst in the 28-nation bloc, fell to 23.1 per cent between April and June, down from a record high of 28 per cent in 2014.

“Despite everything that has happened in the last year, despite Greece debating and arguing with its [€300 billion bailout] lenders, despite Brexit, and global financial instability in the market, tourism still managed to outperform every other sector,” the tourism chief, Andreas Andreadis, said in an interview.

Brexit effect

“In terms of effect it has not been at all significant and already the picture is looking very positive for next year with early bookings doing better than expected.”

– (Guardian service)