INTERVIEW - Greek 2010 tourism revenues seen down 7-9 pct

ATHENS Fri May 14, 2010 5:54pm IST

Tourists take photos in front of the Parthenon temple at the Acropolis in Athens, March 18, 2010. REUTERS/John Kolesidis/Files

Tourists take photos in front of the Parthenon temple at the Acropolis in Athens, March 18, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/John Kolesidis/Files

Related Topics

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece's tourism revenues are likely to fall 7-9 percent this year, making it even harder for the debt-choked country to pull itself out of a crisis that has rocked markets worldwide, a senior industry official said.

Tourism accounts for nearly a fifth of Greece's output and is a main driver of its 240 billion euro economy. How it fares is crucial for the recession-hit economy and its capacity to exit its debt crisis.

"We'll see a big drop in revenues because (holiday) prices are down... At the moment we expect a 7 to 9 percent drop (in revenues)," said Andreas Andreadis, head of the Hellenic Hotel Federation and Vice President of Greece's Tourism Enterprises.

Last year was already bad for the sector, with revenues down about 10 percent. Tourism receipts fell to 10.4 billion euros ($13.21 billion), pushed lower by the global financial crisis, a strong euro and competition from cheaper nearby destinations.

The industry had hoped things would slightly improve thanks to a weaker euro and signs of economic recovery in key markets such as Germany and Britain.

But bookings have been hurt by worries over repeated strikes against austerity measures and the death of three people in a bank burnt during a protest last week.

"People are afraid about violence and worried about strikes," Andreadis told Reuters in the interview, adding that bookings had slowed after the deadly protest.

He expected bookings to pick up but said that revenues will be hurt as the industry will have to cut prices further to attract late demand.

How tourism eventually fares this year will depend a lot on whether upcoming protests are peaceful and whether there are any more 24-hour flight strikes, he said.

Air traffic controllers said on Friday they would not take part in a general strike on May 20, to avoid hurting tourism and Greece's economy further.

"We are trying to reassure people," Andreadis said.

(Editing by Ian Jones)

FILED UNDER:

Surprise Rate Cut

Reuters Showcase

Insurance Bill

Insurance Bill

Opposition support bolsters prospects for insurance reforms  Full Article 

SBI Share Sale

SBI Share Sale

SBI's up to $2.4 billion share sale likely by end April - sources   Full Article 

Eicher Share Sale

Eicher Share Sale

Truck maker Volvo sells shares in Eicher Motors  Full Article 

Beef Ban

Beef Ban

After beef ban, Hindu groups force abattoirs to close   Full Article 

Monsoon Season

Monsoon Season

Exclusive - India expects better monsoon rains this year  Full Article 

Services Growth

Services Growth

Services growth at eight-month high in Feb - HSBC PMI  Full Article 

'India's Daughter'

'India's Daughter'

Documentary on 2012 Delhi gang rape banned in India  Full Article 

Capex Slashed

Capex Slashed

Cairn India slashes 2015-16 capex on falling crude   Full Article 

Strong Start

Strong Start

Airwaves auction off to strong start, bids near $10 billion.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage