Greece’s Tourism Revenues Fall 4%

Greek Tourism Minister Olga Kefaloyianni
Greek Tourism Minister Olga Kefaloyianni

Despite on-again, off-again pronouncements from the government that it’s serious about improving the tourism infrastructure and devising new campaigns to lure visitors, Greece’s tourism receipts fell 4 percent in the first 10 months of 2012, hurt by continuing social and political unrest.

The drop-off was exacerbated by a fall in visitors from other European countries, although domestic sales were not good either as many Greeks, under financial pressure from pay cuts, tax hikes and slashed pensions imposed by the government as a condition of getting international aid, stayed home in the summer and the holidays instead of seeing sites in their own country.

Statistics showed that tourists spent 9.77 billion euros ($12.91 billion), compared with 10.18 billion euros in the year-earlier period, according to The Bank of Greece. Visitor numbers fell 5.5 percent overall with arrivals from the other 26 EU countries down 13.4 percent and from the other 16 euro-area nations down 17.5 percent, the central bank said in the statement.

Tourism accounts for about 16 percent of Greece’s gross domestic product, according to the London-based World Travel and Tourism Council and is the most important revenue producer for the country. Although it has remarkable history and beautiful vistas, Greece is behind countries such as Ukraine in getting visitors.

New Tourism Minister Olga Kefaloyianni has promised that she would reverse years of complacency in the office and do more to attract visitors, although the country’s financial problems has limited advertising campaigns. She has traveled to the U.S. and other countries in a bid to show Greece is still a favored destination.



  1. I have been arguing about this issue since we returned in 2010. Tourism in Hellas could be 25% or more of state revenues but there are issues that mustbe overcome. They begin with consulates in the diaspora who are NOT helpful when it comes to people like me, the son of two Greek born people, getting a Greek passport. It includes trying to make arrangements to meet with politicians and especially municipal councillors in my role as a Councillor here, only to find everyone on holidays. But getting over there, it is not having enough information at the airport to understand easily how to catch one of the buses or trains which are actually very reliable, clean and cheap. And I could go on and on. Suffice to state that Ellada is drop dead gorgeous and when the transport unions are not on strike, public transport is far better there than it is in Victoria, Australia. It is a nation very well worth the visit and one which you will fall in love with once you go.

  2. I am not of Greek descent but I have visited Greece about twenty times and I think it is simply the most wonderful place in the world and my plan is to go again in April 2013. If the Greeks want people to come and see how splendid their country is, they should do the following:
    1.) Round up all the politicians whose greed and irresponsibility and dishonesty caused the present economic crisis and put them in prison … for life.

    2.) Round up all members of Golden Dawn and kill them.

    3.) Round up all tax evaders and make them pay. Through the nose if necessary.

    4.) Require everyone to stay in school until completing their 18th year.

    5.) Oblige any physician who seeks or accepts a bribe to ingest his or her own fecal material.

    6.) Put Venizelos on a special diet.

    I have a whole bunch of additional suggestions but these seem to deal with the most pressing problems. Those who see no connection between invigorating the tourist trade and the above suggestions . . . there is probably no hope for them.

  3. Why do you want the Greek citizenship??? You are better off in Australia than in Greece my friend…Greece is a corrupt country and the only ones who can have a lavish life are the politicians, their parasites and supporters…Greece is bankrupt because our politicians looted its wealth, mismanaged its economy and forced professionals from leaving the country seeking a better future abroad…Greece is not what anyone thinks anymore…Without strong connections no one can do business…We have to pay “Fakelakia” to do business…We have to bribe Doctors to have an simple operation done under the Greek NHS…We have to bribe our way to be able to live in Greece…Stay in Australia and don’t think of moving to Greece because you will regret it for the rest of your life…Greece is not a drop dead gorgeous anymore…Its full of drugs, crime has gone up to 42% and killings by illegal immigrants are almost everyday…It is worse than Chicago…You have places of interest to visit around the world better than Greece…

  4. Well, nothing will change in Greece because the Greeks are “S-T-U-P-I-D” to understand what is happening to them and their own country…Greeks are divided among themselves that’s why nothing will change and all that so called “EU Memorandum” which was set-up by the EU won’t make any difference…Corruption will remain because its deep and well rooted within the government corridors and no one can stop it because “Tax evaders” have politicians in their hands…May I remind you that Tax evaders are the backbone of all Greek politicians because they supply them will large sums of money for their election campaigns to keep them in government for their own interests and of course politicians interests too…Greece has been like this for so many years (38) when Pasok took over, the country’s economy started to fall and corruption started to grow stronger and stronger to the point that you had to pay bribe to have an operation in the Greek NHS and not just that but also to bribe officials in order start a small business…Greece will never change for as long as the same old corrupt politicians are in power…”Full Stop”

  5. Not that I support GD but your  suggestion to kill all its members amounts to a serious crime. If any individual member of GD (or Syriza, or any other political party) commits a crime they should be charged but one cannot wholesale execute people for simply belonging to a political party. By advocating death squads you are advocating a human rights atrocity. And you suggestion to put everyone responsible for our debt problems in prison for life is also irresponsible. Many people not only a handful of politicians are to blame.  Your suggestion that physicians should ingest their fecal material is plain absurd. All your suggestions are basically empty rhetoric.

    We need real solutions not more empty rhetoric. To implement any solution involves focus else the task never gets completed because there isn’t enough resources. Many of our leftists seem to believe money grows on trees and exists primarily to fund their lifestyle (rather than focus on personal accountability and production). IMO their corrupt values are the biggest problem Greece faces at the moment. They are experts on how to take from their country but they don’t know how to give. (“patriots” when it comes time to demanding money from other Greeks and bizarrely anti-nationalist the rest of the time) They fantasize their far leftists Utopia is about sharing but what its really about is lining their own pockets with wealth redistribution scams and oppression. (see North Korea)

  6. The mistake is blaming the government for tax evasion. The government isn’t the one evading taxation. Government collects taxes of its workers. The problem is to be found in the general population many of whom don’t want to pay their taxes.

    Our leftists erroneously believe it is big businesses that are the problem. They couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality it is our  small busineses that don’t pay taxes. (which makes up the majority of the working force in Greece) Large businesses with lots of employers are usually are setup up to collect taxes. (since employees can’t pocket VAT for themselves like small businesses do)  In addition Illegals don’t pay taxes (and those that hire illegals tend to also cheat on their taxes) Then of course very high taxation encourages tax evasion (not to mention businesses moving to other jurisdictions where taxes are less so they can make a profit)

    In short, while they may claim to be against corruption….the things that our leftists support further the cause of tax evasion.

  7. Alex … Yes, you are quite right. My suggestions are patently and deliberately absurd and they run counter to all accepted notions of civilized behavior. And what makes them different from what you advocate is that your observations are just comlaints about all the stuff everyone already know about. So they have no real meaning. If someone decides to rought up a crooked politician, he probably thought long and hard beforehand about how the politician has, for decades, been violating the rights, human and civil, of the rest of his countrymen. Surely you are aware of the part Venizelos played in getting Papandreou senior of the hook in the Bank of Somewhere scandal several decades ago(?).

  8. I gathered you were not serious but not everyone does. It is irresponsible to use such language. I have observed that many extremists in Greece resort to hyperbole then subsequently act out based on their own prior exaggerations and rhetoric.

    Some powerful Greeks are certainly crooked but this doesn’t mean all are crooked nor does it mean only politicians are the problem. For instance  for years many of the poor in Greece stole from the system by either abusing services or evading taxes. Far leftist extremists seem to be complete denial of the fact that a significant number of poor people in Greece are unproductive crooks.

    I find those that go on and on about the powerful tend to gloss over this reality. Typically it is leftists that rail against the government because they want to continue to use our government for their personal piggy bank (something that austerity is putting an end to).

  9. Alex, politicians have helped some to evade paying taxes and most are the ones with connections to government officials while others do bribe officials for not paying their dues…The issue here is officials who do accept large sums of money to void tax bills to businesses…Ordinary citizens do pay their dues on time…I blame this on all politicians from all parties but the 80% goes to Pasok because it is the party who created this massive crisis and bankrupt the country…

  10. You need real solutions, is that what you want??? For real solutions, we must have real politicians who their main interest is the country, it’s prosperity and our future…We need politicians not clowns “garagiozides” who do not know what’s right from wrong, what’s good for the country and whats not good, we don’t need politicians interested in looting the country’s wealth and foremost politicians not above the law…

  11. Alex … When I said that I have strong positive feelings (amounting almost to love) about the country Greece, I forgot to mention that I also like the Greek people (very, very much). What is interesting to me is that among Greeks one finds almost exactly the same proportion of good guys to S.O.B.’s as there are in every other country I have lived in or know anything about. This is sorta confirmed by your comments, isn’t it? Since the nation won its independence from the Turks (1831?) there has been a subdued civil war throughout the land between the Greeks and the Hellenes. I suspect you know what I mean by this but if you do not, just ask me or, better still, look into some books by Patrick Leigh Fermor or Robert D. Kaplan.
        Let us distinguish carefully between political strategy and ideology. Specifically, if you think PASOK is an example of socialism, think again. It is in fact a fine example of “pull the wool over the people’s eyes so we can stay in power and send our ill-gotten money to Switzerland in our mother’s name.

  12. I am amazed and thereby question this statistic which seems WAY TOO LOW. My friends in the tourist business in Paros say the summer season was disasterous, unlike anything they’ve ever seen. Surely that must represent more than 4%

  13. Nancy ………  I kinda sense you are right. I have herd, seen, and read figures way higher. As much as 11 percent.