Euro causing drop in UK tourists to Greece


Greece expects a big drop in the number of tourists this year from Britain, its most frequent visitors, because of the strong euro, Tourist Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos warned Tuesday.

Like other Mediterranean economies with major tourism, Greece was set to suffer from a “financial crisis in Europe” and the euro’s strength against the dollar, Spiliotopoulos told journalists.

Tourism is Greece’s most important industry after merchant shipping.

A busy international sports timetable this year, with the Olympic Games in Beijing and the European Football Championship in Austria and Switzerland, also coincides with the tourist season to Greeceā€™s disadvantage.

Greeks expect a particular drop in the numbers arriving from Britain where the pound has suffered heavily against the euro, the minister said. Greece is one of 15 members of the euro zone.

Britain leads the number of foreign tourists to Greece every year, with some 16 percent of overall numbers.

But he said there were positive signs from Germany, also a member of the euro zone. Germans form the second largest number of tourists to Greece each year after Britain.