Greece - Tourism, travel, and recreation

Principal tourist sites, in addition to the world-famous Parthenon and Acropolis in Athens, include Mt. Olympus (the home of the gods in ancient mythology), the site of the ancient oracle at Delphi, the Agora at Corinth, and the Minoan ruins on Crete. Operas, concerts, ballet performances, and ancient Greek dramas are presented at the Athens Festival each year from July to September; during July and August, Greek classics also are performed in the open-air theater at Epidaurus, 40 km (25 mi) east of Árgos. Popular sports include swimming at the many beaches, sailing and water skiing, fishing, golf, and mountain climbing.

The Greek government encourages tourists and facilitates their entry and accommodation. A passport is needed for admission, but for visitors from most countries, no visa is required. Citizens of the US, UK, Canada, and many other countries who remain in Greece for more than three months must obtain residence permits, which are valid for six months, and present sojourn and exit permits on leaving the country. Those wishing to reside in Greece permanently may be granted a residence permit valid for two years.

The number of foreign tourists visiting Greece in 1999 totaled 12,164,088 and tourism receipts totaled $8.7 billion. There were 308,452 hotel rooms with 584,973 beds and an occupancy rate of 64% that year.

In 2002 the US government estimated the cost of staying in Athens at $197 per day. Elsewhere in the country, daily expenses ranged from $53 to $193.

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