International arrivals in Greece keep rising in October

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Passengers arriving from Germany and Switzerland exit the terminal of the Heraklion airport, as the country's tourism season officially opens, on the island of Crete, Greece, May 15, 2021. REUTERS/Stefanos Rapanis/File Photo

ATHENS, Nov 22 (Reuters) - International air traffic to Greece rose further in October, at the end of the peak summer tourism season, civil aviation authority data showed on Monday.

Arrivals more than doubled in that month to 1,683,723, from 741,932 a year earlier when COVID restrictions hurt international travel.

Greece, where about a fifth of economic output comes from tourism, suffered its most severe air traffic slump on record in 2020, with arrivals down 75% from the previous year.

With vaccination and testing for COVID-19 widely available, the country opened its borders to foreign travellers in May, hoping for a 50% rise from the pre-crisis levels seen in 2019, when the country welcomed a record of more than 30 million tourists.

Overall traffic at Greek airports was up 69% for the ten months to October at around 32 million passengers but it was still down 45.7% versus the same period in 2019 before the pandemic struck, the data showed.

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Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou, editing by Ed Osmond

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