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Developments in the balance of travel services: November 2020

21/01/2021 - Press Releases

Balance of travel services

Based on provisional data, the balance of travel services in November 2020 showed a surplus of €40 million, compared with a surplus of €109 million in November 2019. More specifically, travel receipts in November 2020 fell by 80.8% to €61 million, from €315 million in November 2019, while travel payments also decreased by 90.2% (November 2020: €20 million, November 2019: €207 million). The fall in travel receipts resulted from an 81.1% decline in inbound traveller flows, as average expenditure per trip rose by 12.0%. Net receipts from travel services offset 2.8% of the goods deficit and accounted for 9.5% of total net receipts from services.

In January-November 2020,[1] the balance of travel services showed a surplus of €3,514 million, down from a surplus of €15,406 million in the same period of 2019. Travel receipts fell by €13,638 million or 76.3% to €4,247 million, while travel payments also decreased by €1,745 million or 70.4% to €733 million. The fall in travel receipts resulted from a 76.3% decline in inbound traveller flows, as average expenditure per trip rose by 2.7%. Net receipts from travel services offset 20.7% of the goods deficit and accounted for 49.8% of total net receipts from services.

 

Travel receipts

In November 2020, as mentioned previously, travel receipts declined by 80.8% year-on-year. In more detail, receipts from residents of EU27 countries fell by 80.2% to €28 million, while receipts from outside the EU27 decreased by 77.5% (November 2020: €33 million, November 2019: €146 million). The lower receipts from within the EU27 were due to decreases in receipts from euro area residents by 80.0% to €23 million (November 2019: €114 million) and in receipts from residents of non-euro area EU27 countries by 80.9% to €5 million. Among major countries of origin, receipts from Germany fell by 73.0% to €9 million and receipts from France decreased by 85.6% to €1 million. Turning to non-EU27 countries, receipts from the United Kingdom fell by 36.6% to €12 million, while receipts from the United States decreased by 83.0% to €4 million. Receipts from Russia also decreased, by 99.4% to almost zero.

In January-November 2020, travel receipts totalled €4,247 million, down by 76.3%, relative to the same period of 2019. This development was driven by a 70.6% decline in receipts from residents of EU27 countries, which came to €2,823 million and by an 81.8% drop in receipts from residents of non-EU27 countries to €1,418 million. In particular, receipts from euro area residents decreased by 68.8% to €2,377 million, while receipts from residents of non-euro area EU27 countries fell by 77.5% to €447 million. Specifically, receipts from Germany dropped by 61.4% to €1,132 million and receipts from France fell by 66.3% to €366 million. Turning to non-EU27 countries, receipts from the United Kingdom dropped by 70.7% to €745 million and receipts from the United States decreased by 93.0% to €82 million. Receipts from Russia also decreased, by 96.9% to €13 million.

 

Inbound traveller flows[2]

The number of inbound visitors in November 2020 fell by 81.1% year-on-year to 176 thousand. Specifically, visitor flows through airports declined by 76.6% and visitor flows through road border-crossing points fell by 89.9%. This overall decrease was due to lower visitor flows from both within the EU27 (down 81.7%) and outside the EU27 (down 80.4%). In greater detail, the number of visitors from within the euro area fell by 74.1% to 64 thousand, while visitors from non-euro area EU27 countries fell by 89.5% (November 2020: 25 thousand, November 2019: 242 thousand). Specifically, the number of visitors from Germany decreased by 70.8% to 21 thousand, while visitors from France also fell by 75.8% to 4 thousand. Turning to non-EU27 countries, the number of visitors from the United Kingdom fell by 31.8% to 34 thousand, while visitors from the United States dropped by 89.3% to 5 thousand and visitors from Russia decreased by 97.9% to 0.4 thousand.

In January-November 2020, the number of inbound visitors fell by 76.3% to 7,278 thousand (January-November 2019: 30,656 thousand). Specifically, visitor flows through airports declined by 72.9% and visitor flows through road border-crossing points fell by 83.7%. In the period under review, visitors from within the EU27 dropped by 73.5% year-on-year to 4,840 thousand, while visitors from outside the EU27 decreased by 80.4% to 2,438 thousand. The number of visitors from within the euro area fell by 68.6%, while visitors from non-euro area EU27 countries dropped by 80.6%. Specifically, the number of visitors from Germany fell by 61.9% to 1,516 thousand, while visitors from France decreased by 69.5% to 466 thousand. Turning to non-EU27 countries, the number of visitors from the United Kingdom fell by 69.4% to 1,061 thousand, while visitors from the United States dropped by 90.9% to 104 thousand and visitors from Russia decreased by 95.7% to 25 thousand.

 

Note: The next Press Release on “Developments in the balance of travel services” for December 2020 will be published on 23 February 2021.

 

Methodological Note

Special travel conditions and behaviours induced by the global impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the associated movement restrictions caused the Border Survey to be suspended from 15 March to 1 July.

In order to ensure data comparability over time, the Bank of Greece has adopted the following approach:

1.         For each border-crossing point, inbound and outbound flows were broken down, percentagewise, into periods 1-15 March and 16 March-30 June.

2.         Data collected for the period 1-15 March were checked, processed and analysed using the standardised methodology.

3.         For the period 16 March-30 June, extrapolation factors were estimated for main traveller flows per type of border-crossing point, using detailed data on official flows at border-crossing points and historical data on traveller flow distribution by month and border-crossing point.           

As of July 2020, conduct of the Border Survey has fully resumed.



[1] See the Methodological Note at the end of this Press Release.

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

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