|By Christine Pirovolakis, dpa,
BerlinMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
April 25, 2012--ATHENS -- Revenues from tourism shrank by 35.3 per cent in Greece in February, according to data released on Wednesday by the Bank of Greece.
The southern Mediterranean country has been hoping that tourism, which accounts for 15 per cent of GDP and employs a fifth of the country's four-million workforce, will help boost the debt-written economy.
The bank said tourism revenue fell 44.7 per cent year-on-year for January and February, compared to the same period last year.
This is attributed to a 61 per cent drop in pre-bookings from Germany and a 42.6 per cent fall in pre-bookings from Britain.
Strikes and anti-austerity protests have strained relations with fellow eurozone member Germany, which many in Greece blame for unpopular budget cuts in exchange for bailout loans. Greek tourism officials say this and negative publicity have put off tourists.
Greece's economy is in a fifth year of recession and the Bank of Greece forsees a 5-per-cent contraction in 2012 as the government adopts austerity measures in exchange for financial aid from the European Union and International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The unemployment rate was expected to increase to 19 per cent this year, up from 17.7 per cent last year.
(c)2012 Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH (Hamburg, Germany)
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