ATHENS, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Greece's economy is likely to shrink by about 3 percent in the third quarter, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said on Monday, easing from 3.8 percent in the previous quarter after a revival of tourist revenues.
Such a reading would indicate that the economy, which is in its sixth year of recession, would shrink by about 4 percent this year, in line with forecasts by the government and the country's international lenders, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.
"The Greek economy is certainly entering a new phase," Stournaras said during a tourism conference in Athens.
"We expect an even better result in the third quarter, probably close to -3 percent, a result in which tourism has certainly contributed significantly."
The Mediterranean country has pinned its hopes on tourism, which accounts for about a sixth of economic output and employs nearly a fifth of the country's shrinking workforce, to exit the deep financial crisis.
Stournaras said that in the first eight months of the year foreign tourist arrivals rose by about 15 percent and net tourism receipts by about 18 percent year-on-year.
Tourism officials see a 10 percent revenue rise in 2013, to 11 billion euros, on the back of more than 17 million visitors.
Greece has been kept on a drip feed of EU/IMF rescue loans since 2010 that have come at the price of austerity cuts and Athens has repeatedly ruled out imposing painful new measures.
The government is aiming for a primary budget surplus of 0.2 percent of GDP this year, in the hope of further debt relief by its international lenders.
It also expects the economy to grow by about 0.6 percent in 2014, which would be the first year of growth since 2007.