tourism growth hinges on bailout review, refugee crisis:
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[March 09, 2016]
ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek tourism
revenues are seen rising again in 2016 but revenue growth hinges on a
swift conclusion of the country's bailout review and an efficient
handling of refugee flows, the country's main tourism association said
The head of tourism association SETE, Andreas Andreadis, said that
direct tourism receipts were expected to grow 5.6 percent to 15
billion euros on the back of 25 million visitors and 2.5 million
cruise ship arrivals.
But he warned "the targets depend on the successful conclusion of
the bailout review and managing the refugee flows."
"The key word is stability," Andreadis told Reuters.
Greece relies on its monuments and sandy beaches for an economic
recovery. The sector is the crisis-hit country's main cash earner,
accounting for about 17 percent of economic output and employing one
in five people.
Andreadis called for the conclusion of the review by the end of
April, before the Greek Orthodox Easter, a key tourism season.
Athens hopes the review will open the way for talks on debt relief,
which will send a positive signal to markets.
European Union and International Monetary Fund inspectors, who
started assessing Greece's progress in January but cut the process
short last month, were expected to relaunch talks with the
government in Athens on Wednesday.
Greece, struggling to meet the terms of its international bailout
which helps it stay afloat, is also the main gateway into the EU for
thousands of refugees, mainly from Syria and other war-torn
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More than a million people fleeing war and poverty in the Middle
East and beyond have entered the EU since early 2015, most making
the perilous sea crossing from Turkey to Greece, which has set up
hotspots on five Aegean islands.
Andreadis said that some regions were expected to remain affected by
the refugee crisis. "The increase will not be even, across the
board," he said adding that a European Union summit on March 17-18
(Reporting by Renee Maltezou; Editing by Dominic Evans)
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