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Russian, French Tourists Boost Visitor Numbers to Greece

Jan. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Arrivals from France, Russia and Portugal bolstered the number of visitors to Greece by 10.4 percent in the first nine months of 2011, the Hellenic Statistical Authority reported.

A total of 14.23 million people arrived from January to September, up from 12.89 million in the year-earlier period. Visitors from Russia increased 58 percent to 656,400 and those from France increased 36 percent to 1.04 million, according to agency data. The biggest increase was from Portugal, whose 32,200 visitors represented a 90 percent jump.

Visitors from Europe as a whole, who account for 90 percent of all arrivals, climbed 11.2 percent to 12.81 million. The largest number of arrivals, 1.87 million, came from Germany and was little changed from a year earlier.

Tourism contributes 16 percent of Greek gross domestic product and accounts for one in five jobs, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council, an industry group.

To contact the reporter on this story: Marcus Bensasson in Athens at mbensasson@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net

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