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International passenger traffic dropped more steeply than domestic numbers as Greece’s largest industry took a hit to its sun soaked image amidst political and financial struggles.
Passenger traffic at Athens International Airport SA dropped 10 percent last year as the European crisis cut trips by Greek and international travelers.
The number of people passing through Greece’s biggest airport declined to 12.9 million from 14.4 million in 2011, the airport said on its website. International passenger traffic fell 12 percent to 8.4 million and domestic travelers dropped 7.9 percent to 4.5 million.
The decrease can be “mainly attributed to the country’s overall critical political and financial situation and the respective negative impact” on travel, the airport said.
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. An economic contraction, broadcast images of protests, a second round of elections in June and concern the country might abandon the euro all weakened Greece’s attraction for tourists.
International arrivals at the 15 airports that account for as much as 95 percent of all foreign arrivals in Greece by air declined 3.3 percent to 11.3 million last year, the Athens-based Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises said in a separate statement. Kavala, in the north, had the biggest decline with international arrivals falling 15 percent.
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