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Greek Airport Arrivals Fall as Crisis Hits Tourism Industry

Oct. 12 (Bloomberg) -- International arrivals at Greek airports dropped 2.5 percent in the first nine months of the year, as the European economic crisis continued to crimp spending on travel.

The number of passengers arriving from abroad declined to 10.3 million from 10.6 million in the same period a year earlier, the Athens-based Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises, known as SETE, said in a statement on its website.

Arrivals from abroad dropped eight out of the first nine months of 2012, the statement said. International arrivals fell 0.2 percent to 1.7 million in September. Images of protests against austerity measures broadcast around the world have hurt the country’s image, Athens International Airport said last month.

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

Arrivals from abroad at Athens International, the country’s biggest airport, dropped 12 percent to 2.1 million in the nine months through Sept. 30, SETE said.

The 15 airports covered in the survey account for 95 percent of all foreign arrivals in Greece by air.

To contact the reporter on this story: Natalie Weeks in Athens at nweeks2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jerrold Colten at jcolten@bloomberg.net

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