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21/02/2018 - Developments in the balance of travel services: December 2017

Balance of travel services

Based on provisional data, in December 2017 the balance of travel services showed a surplus of €11 million, down 76.3% from a surplus of €45 million in December 2016. This development is attributed to a 26.5% increase in travel payments (December 2017: €172 million, December 2016: €136 million), which outweighed an increase of 0.8% in travel receipts (December 2017: €182 million, December 2016: €181 million). The rise in travel receipts reflected a 1.0% increase in average expenditure per trip, as inbound traveller flows decreased by 0.3%. Net receipts from travel services accounted for 2.4% of total net receipts from services and offset 0.7% of the goods deficit.

In 2017, the balance of travel services showed a surplus of €12,680 million, up 13.2% from a surplus of €11,201 million in 2016. This development was driven by an increase of €1,389 million or 10.5% in travel receipts and a decrease of €90 million or 4.5% in travel payments. The rise in travel receipts is attributed mostly to a 9.7% increase in inbound traveller flows and, to a lesser extent, to a 1.4% rise in average expenditure per trip. Net receipts from travel services offset 69.1% of the goods deficit and accounted for 72.9% of total net receipts from services.

Travel receipts

In December 2017, as mentioned previously, travel receipts rose by 0.8% year-on-year. In more detail, receipts from residents of the EU28 fell by 5.4% to €96 million, whereas receipts from outside the EU28 rose by 8.8% (December 2017: €84 million, December 2016: €77 million). The lower receipts from within the EU28 were due to a 9.2% drop in receipts from euro area residents (December 2017: €58 million, December 2016: €64 million), as receipts from residents of non-euro area EU28 countries increased by 1.3%. Breaking down receipts by visitor’s country of origin, receipts from France remained roughly stable at €4 million, whereas receipts from Germany decreased by 19.2% to €14 million. Receipts from the United Kingdom increased by 7.8% to €17 million. Turning to non-EU28 countries, receipts from Russia fell by 31.4% to €4 million, as did receipts from the United States, by 19.5% to €12 million.

In 2017, travel receipts rose by 10.5%, compared with the previous year, to €14,596 million. This development is attributed to increases in receipts from within the EU28 by 13.8% to €9,843 million and in receipts from outside the EU28 by 5.6% to €4,327 million. In particular, receipts from euro area residents rose by 20.6% to €6,270 million, while receipts from residents of non-euro area EU28 countries also increased, by 3.6% to €3,573 million. Specifically, receipts from France rose by 17.3% to €992 million, as did receipts from Germany, by 31.5% to €2,553 million. Receipts from the United Kingdom also increased, by 11.6% to €2,061 million. Turning to non-EU28 countries, receipts from Russia decreased by 3.6% to €418 million, whereas receipts from the United States rose by 4.4% to €803 million.

Inbound traveller flows (1)

In December 2017, the number of inbound visitors fell slightly by 0.3% year-on-year to 563 thousand. Specifically, visitor flows through airports increased by 3.5%, whereas visitor flows through road border-crossing points declined by 7.4%. This development is attributed to a 10.1% decrease in visitor flows from within the EU28, as visitor flows from outside the EU28 increased by 14.0%. In greater detail, the number of visitors from the euro area fell by 6.2% to 142 thousand, while visitors from the non-euro area EU28 countries also declined, by 13.2% (December 2017: 159 thousand, December 2016: 183 thousand). Specifically, the number of visitors from France decreased by 10.7% to 8 thousand, as did the number of visitors from Germany, by 3.5% to 38 thousand. Visitors from the United Kingdom rose by 24.0% to 44 thousand. Turning to non-EU28 countries, the number of visitors from Russia fell by 22.2% to 9 thousand, whereas the number of visitors from the United States rose by 13.4% to 26 thousand.

In 2017, the number of inbound visitors rose by 9.7% to 27,194 thousand (2016: 24,799 thousand). Specifically, visitor flows through airports increased by 9.9%, while visitor flows through road border-crossing points also increased, by 8.7%. In the period under review, the number of visitors from within the EU28 rose by 7.9% year-on-year to 18,583 thousand, as did the number of visitors from outside the EU28, by 13.6% to 8,611 thousand. Visitors from the euro area rose by 10.4%, while visitors from the non-euro area EU28 countries also rose, by 5.3%. Specifically, the number of visitors from France increased by 8.1% to 1,420 thousand, as did the number of visitors from Germany, by 18.1% to 3,706 thousand. Visitors from the United Kingdom increased by 3.7% to 3,002 thousand. Finally, turning to non-EU28 countries, the number of visitors from Russia decreased by 1.1% to 589 thousand, whereas the number of visitors from the United States rose by 11.1% to 865 thousand.

Note: The next Press Release on “Developments in the balance of travel services” for January 2018 will be published on 26 March 2018.

Related link: Developments in the balance of travel services: December 2017 - Table

(1) Inbound traveller flows exclude cruise passengers (other than those recorded in the Border Survey).