Greece sees jump in international arrivals in August

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ATHENS — International air traffic to Greece picked up strongly in August at the peak of the summer tourism season, civil aviation authority data showed on Friday.

Arrivals nearly doubled in that month to 3,042,098, from 1,666,222 a year earlier when the world was gripped by the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the data.

Greece, where about a fifth of economic output comes from tourism, suffered its most severe air traffic slump on record in 2020, with arrivals down 75% from the previous year.

This year, with vaccination rollouts and widely available testing for COVID-19, the government is expecting a 50% rise from the levels seen in 2019, before the pandemic struck, when the country welcomed a record of more than 30 million tourists.

Overall traffic at Greek airports was up 53.7% for the first eight months of the year but it was still down 53.8% versus the same period in 2019, the data showed. (Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Pravin Char)