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International arrivals in Greece jump in May

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Passengers of TUI Airways flight from Dusseldorf arrive at Ioannis Kapodistrias International Airport, as the country's tourism season officially opens, on the island of Corfu, Greece, May 15, 2021. REUTERS/Adonis Skordilis

ATHENS, June 16 (Reuters) - Air traffic in Greece picked up strongly in May as the government eased restrictions on travel at the start of the vital summer tourist season, civil aviation authority data on Wednesday showed.

International arrivals jumped more than 25-fold in May to 383,107 from just 14,273 a year earlier, during the first phase of the coronavirus pandemic, the figures showed.

Greece, which generates around a fifth of its economic output from tourism, suffered its most severe fall on record in 2020 as the coronavirus halted international travel, with arrivals down 75% from the previous year.

This year, as vaccination campaigns in Greece and many other countries have picked up, the government is expecting a 50% rise on last year's levels.

Overall traffic at Greek airports was still down 48% for the first five months of the year, the figures showed.

Reporting by James Mackenzie, editing by Louise Heavens

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