Euro Crisis

Greek Tourism Drops Off, Adding to Country's Woes

Come for the ouzo, stay for the riots

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The number of international visits to Greece fell 5.5 percent last year, as political turmoil during elections in June and the economic crisis in Europe affected the country's tourism industry.

A total of 15.5 million non-resident visitors arrived in Greece in 2012, according to a statement from the Athens-based Hellenic Statistical Authority. European visitors, 89.3 percent of the total, also dropped 5.5 percent to 13.9 million from 14.7 million last year.

Greece, now in its sixth year of a recession amplified by austerity measures linked to two bailouts from the European Union and International Monetary Fund, marked a record unemployment rate of 27.2 percent in January. The country's labor market is not expected to improve "until the second quarter of this year, when tourism activity is expected to provide more support," Nicholas Magginas, an economist at National Bank of Greece SA in Athens, said April 11.