Greek International Air Arrivals Rise for First Time This Year

May 17 (Bloomberg) -- International arrivals at Greek airports last month rose the first time this year as the peak tourism season got under way, according to the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises.

The number of people arriving from abroad advanced to 531,734 in April, from 524,842 in the same month a year ago, the association said in a statement on its website.

In the first four months of the year international arrivals dropped 3.7 percent to 1.09 million. Thirteen airports providing 95 percent of air arrivals from abroad were surveyed.

Athens International Airport had a 12 percent drop in the four months through April 30, to 564,241, with the decline in April at 7.3 percent. Traffic at Greece’s biggest airport has slumped as the economic crisis hits travel spending and protests dent Greece’s image abroad, the airport said in a statement last month.

Tourism, Greece’s biggest industry, accounted for almost 16 percent of gross domestic product and almost one in five jobs in 2011, according to the London-based World Travel and Tourism Council.

To contact the reporter on this story: Natalie Weeks in Athens at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jerrold Colten at