August 19, 2013 / 9:47 AM / 6 years ago

UPDATE 1-Greek tourism receipts surge in June, boosts hopes for season

ATHENS, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Spending by tourists in Greece
surged in June, central bank data showed on Monday, confirming
forecasts that a record summer season could give the debt-laden
country a welcome injection of foreign cash.
    With domestic spending, investment and industrial production
all in an austerity-driven slump, spending by foreign visitors
is becoming the only growth driver for Greece's economy, which
is expected to shrink 4.2 percent this year.
    Tourism receipts, the country's biggest foreign-currency
driver, rose 21 percent year-on-year to 1.59 billion euros in
June, the first month of Greece's busy summer holiday season.
    That brings total tourism receipts in the first half of the
year to 3.32 billion euros, Bank of Greece figures showed, up 18
percent compared with the same period last year, when fears of a
Greek euro zone exit kept tourists away.
    The local tourism industry is currently forecasting a 10
percent rise in tourism receipts for the full year to 11 billion
euros from a record 17 million visitors.
    Hoteliers, restaurant owners and tourism businesses have
slashed prices and upgraded services to weather the crisis and
lure more visitors.
    A better mix of visitors - including those who stay longer
and spend more on average, like Russian tourists - is also
    The number of Russian visitors, who usually spend more than
Germans or Britons, has risen 34 percent, official figures for
the January to May period showed.
    As a result of surging tourism receipts, Greece's current
account surplus widened in June to 663 million euros ($884
million) from 73.1 million euros in the same month last year,
the Bank of Greece said.
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