Greece sets tourism revenue record despite wildfires

Athens: Greece’s tourism revenue surged by 16.5 percent last year to a new record despite a blistering heatwave and devastating wildfires, according to Greek central bank data published Tuesday.

Tourism revenues hit 20.6 billion euros ($22 billion), while the number of tourists rose by around 20 percent to 36 million.

Like many parts of the Mediterranean, Greece experienced a prolonged summer heatwave last year in which 20 people died and close to 175,000 hectares (430,000 acres) of land were scorched.

In July, at the height of heatwave, about 20,000 people were evacuated from the island of Rhodes because of wildfires.

Tourism accounts for roughly a fifth of Greece’s gross domestic product but over-tourism and exorbitant prices on many Greek islands have recently become controversial issues.

Greek authorities have put into place measures to limit the number of visitors to the Acropolis in Athens.