Tourists relax under trees in central Athens, Greece August 4, 2015. REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou
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ATHENS: At London's Heathrow Airport, a traveler to Greece is offered a deal by Aegean Airlines: The flight is booked solid, take a different flight and get 400 euros ($440) and a free round-trip ticket to anywhere in Europe.Greece, despite all its economic and political strife, is heaving with foreign tourists.For tourists, Greece's islands and ancient sites have been little changed by an economic crisis that led to the closure of banks and the country's near exit from the eurozone.Aegean Airlines, Greece's largest carrier, says passenger traffic was up 19 percent in July compared with the same month last year.The foreign visitors are not directly affected by Greece's debt crisis, the poverty provoked by austerity, a jobless rate of roughly 26 percent and the capital controls imposed on banks that limit Greeks to 60 euros of cash a day.
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