Photo: Viking Star and Viking Sea in Santorini, Greece. (Courtesy of Viking Ocean Cruises)
Despite turmoil in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, the tourism industry in Greece is finding its footing once again as officials announced international arrivals were up seven percent through the first nine months of 2016.
According to The Associated Press, Greece alternate minister for tourism Elena Kountoura revealed Monday that international arrivals in the country are expected to top 27 million this year, which would be a new record for Greece.
The resurgence of Greek tourism is thanks in part to both political stability in the country following a massive debt crisis and extremist attacks in other popular destinations like Egypt, Tunisia and Turkey.
In total, tourism accounts for 25 percent of Greece's annual gross domestic product, and is one of the key factors for the country as it continues to rebound from its financial crisis. Unemployment in Greece is around 25 percent, and the resurgence of the tourism industry should help put more locals back to work.
Corfu Holidays Travel CEO Vasilis Kontos told The AP that tourism has seen an increase from travelers who had originally opted to holiday elsewhere in the Mediterranean. While sales taxes have skyrocketed due to the three-year bailout worth $89 billion, travel companies are paying the taxes without much of a fight in order to maintain tourist interest.
"It's something we have had to absorb," Kontos said at the World Travel Market in London.