ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Foreign arrivals in financially struggling Greece increased 12.3 percent in the first half of 2013, official data show, backing government hopes of a bumper year for the key tourism industry.
The national statistical authority said Wednesday that a total 5.42 million non-residents arrived in January-June, compared to 4.82 million a year earlier. It noted a significant increase in arrivals from the U.S., Russia, Germany, Bulgaria, France and Asia.
Tourism accounts for more than 15 percent of Greece's gross domestic product. Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said this week that he expects total arrivals for the year to exceed 17 million, compared to 15.5 million in 2012.
Tourism industry officials hope arrivals can reach 24 million by 2021.