Greece is an industrial-agrarian country. The country occupies the 37th place in the world in terms of GDP growth and 33rd – by purchasing power parity. According to the Human Development Index 2007, Greece ranked 25th in the world and belongs to “developed countries”.
Below are some features of the Greek economy:
• The public sector of the country accounts for about half of GDP.
• Highly developed are retail and wholesale trade.
• The country has an extensive banking system.
• Widespread activities of insurance companies; growing rapidly volume of stock transactions.
• Major industries: textiles (dominant), chemical, petrochemical, tourism, food and tobacco, mining, paper, cement, metallurgy.
• Developed electrical industrya, some types of engineering, production of building materials.
• Transport: Car (carries 60% of all domestic freight and passenger transport), underdeveloped rail, sea (30% domestic and 90% foreign freight and passenger), air.
• Major ports: Piraeus, Thessaloniki, Eleusis, Volos. Greece has a third in the world merchant fleet by the number of ships.
• There are 40 airports, 22 of them are international.
• The largest center – Airport “Eleftherios Venizelos” in Athens – one of the most modern in Europe and worldwide.
Import: machinery and equipment, petroleum and petroleum products, mineral raw materials, consumer goods, food – $ 22.2 billion (Italy – 15.6%, Germany – 15.5% USA – 11.1% , France – 8.3%).
Export: raw materials – bauxite, nickel, manganese, agricultural – tobacco, textiles, olive oil, vegetables, fruits, canned foods, cereals – $ 12.9 billion (Germany – 25.5% USA – 15 8%, Italy – 10.8% United Kingdom – 7.7%). Overall, about 60% of turnover accounted on EU, 20% – on the Arab countries.
Industrial potential of the country is mostly concentrated in the center of Athens and Thessaloniki (50% of the industrial output of the country). Agricultural production is most developed in Macedonia and certain areas of the Peloponnese. Less prosperous regions are Thessaly, Western Peloponnese and Crete (except Heraklion). Poor regions of Greece are: Islands in Aegean and Ionian seas, Epirus, Thrace and eastern Peloponnese, where the predominant subsistence farming, animal husbandry and handicrafts.
The Industry of Greece developed disproportionately on industry structure and unevenly located across the country. Most developed are light and food industries.
One of the developed industries in Greece is metallurgy, although in accordance with the decisions of the EU steel production in Greece has been reduced by 30%. There are enterprises of mechanical engineering, petrochemical and woodworking industries.
The largest portion of foreign exchange earnings continues to provide shipping, the most important sector of the Greek economy. Vessels of Greek shipowners are registered under flags of different countries. Together, under the national and “flags of convenience” of other countries, Greece has the world’s largest civilian fleet. Fishing in coastal waters is extremely important.
The Greek industry also characterised by the fact that there are many small factories, mostly having low technical level. Industrial enterprises of Greece are concentrated mainly in Attica, Evia, and Central and Western Macedonia. Especially rapidly developing industry in the metropolitan area of Athens – Piraeus, where concentrated a large part of the production capacity of the country.
Commodity agriculture is underdeveloped due to a lack of fertile soil, a small amount of precipitation for the year, and inefficient systems of land tenure (its basis is composed of small farms). About 30% of lands in Greece are arable; only in the valleys of Thessaly, Thrace and Macedonia it is possible large-scale production of wheat, corn, barley, sugar beets, cotton and tobacco. Greece is the leader among the EU countries for the production of the last two.
Horticulture is well developed: cultivated olives (most immediately processed into olive oil), grapes, melons, peaches, oranges and tomatoes; citrus and melons (Greece exports them to the EU countries).
Greek agriculture is the main recipient of EU subsidies.
Greece visited by over 19 million tourists annually, bringing thus about 15% of the gross domestic product of the whole country. The country attracts foreign visitors with its rich history and traditions since ancient times. But in recent decades beach tourism has grown considerably. In 2005, only the capital of Greece – Athens was visited by more than 6 million tourists.
Crete, Peloponnese, Rhodes are corners f great beauty and are well suited for a vacation. Mykonos and Santorini have been long among the most popular island destinations in the world.
In 2007, to Greece vas visited by about 18 million tourists. The number of jobs provided by the tourism and related industries in 2006 was 659 719 places. This is 16% of all workers in the economy of Greece.
In 2006, of Greece Ministry of Tourism has invested in the development of the leisure industry for over 38 billion dollars.
In addition the government intends to encourage the development of winter, medical, pilgrimage, agricultural and other types of tourism in Greece, which will further increase the flow of tourists.