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Developments in the balance of travel services – January-June 2015

13/10/2015 - Press Releases

Balance of travel services

Based on the final data, the surplus of the balance of travel services was €3,205 million in January-June 2015, up 12.8% from €2,842 million in January-June 2014, as travel receipts increased by €360 million or 9.5% year-on-year and travel payments decreased by €3 million or 0.3%. Higher travel receipts in January-June 2015 were mainly driven by an increase of 18.8% in non-resident arrivals, as the average expenditure per trip decreased by €43 or 7.9% to €499.

Specifically, expenditure per stay increased by 2.6% (January-June 2015: €74, January-June 2014: €72), while the average length of stay declined by 10.2% year-on-year to 6.8 nights. This development reflected significant increases in arrivals from certain non-euro area and neighbouring countries that are associated with below-average length of stay and expenditure per stay. In January-June 2015, overnight stays increased by 6.7% to 56,639 thousand.

Travel receipts

In January-June 2015, travel receipts totalled €4,171 million, rising by 9.5% year-on-year. This development was primarily due to the fact that receipts from residents of the EU28 increased by 19.4% to €2,655 million, accounting for 63.7% of total travel receipts, while receipts from outside the EU28 decreased by 5.0% to €1,381 million.

In particular, receipts from euro area residents increased by 15.5% to €1,638 million, while receipts from residents of non-euro area countries of the EU28 rose by 26.3% to €1,017 million.

A breakdown of receipts by visitor’s country of origin shows that receipts from Germany rose by 22.2% to €675 million, those from France by 21.3% to €319 million and those from the United Kingdom by 31.8% to €634 million. Among non-EU28 countries, receipts from Russia fell by 64.2% to €126 million, while those from the United States increased by 46.7% to €338 million.

Travel receipts by trip purpose

Looking at the breakdown of non-resident expenditure in Greece by purpose of trip, trips for personal reasons represented the bulk of receipts in January-June 2015, with a share of 92.0% in total expenditure, up from 91.6% in the same period of 2014. Within this category, leisure accounted for the largest share of total expenditure (January-June 2015: 78.0%, January-June 2014: 78.7%), while trips for the purpose of visiting family had a share of 5.1% and showed a rise of 13.2% year-on-year in the corresponding receipts. The 9.9% increase in receipts from trips for personal reasons mainly reflected an increase of €256 million or 8.5% in receipts from leisure trips. Receipts from health trips also rose, by 65.1% to €22 million. Finally, receipts from business trips increased by 4.7% and their share in total receipts declined (January-June 2015: 8.0%, January-June 2014: 8.4%).

Inbound traveller flows

As already mentioned, the number of inbound visitors rose by 18.8%, to 8,368 thousand in January-June 2015 from 7,041 thousand one year earlier. Of this total, 58.6% was accounted for by arrivals from the EU28 and 31.9% by arrivals from outside the EU28 (1). In the period under review, arrivals from within the EU28 increased by 32.4% year-on-year, primarily reflecting higher arrivals from non-euro area EU28 countries (up 51.3% to 2,440 thousand) and, to a lesser extent, from the euro area (up 17.8% to 2,460 thousand). Arrivals from non-EU28 countries also increased, by 4.0% to 2,666 thousand.

In particular, arrivals from Germany and France rose by 23.5% and 12.5%, respectively. Arrivals from the United Kingdom increased by 18.0% to 821 thousand. Finally, among non-EU28 countries, arrivals from Russia fell by 60.6% to 151 thousand, while those from the United States increased by 41.6% to 287 thousand.

Overnight stays (2)
In January-June 2015, overnight stays in Greece were 56,639 thousand, up 6.7% from 53,089 thousand in the same period of 2014. This is attributed primarily to an increase of 17.6% in stays by residents of the EU28, as stays by residents of non-EU28 countries fell by 14.0%. Higher stays by residents of the EU28 resulted from a rise of 28.8% in stays by residents of non-euro area EU28 countries and an increase of 10.9% in stays by residents of the euro area. Stays by German residents increased by 17.0% and those by French and UK residents by 10.4% and 19.9%, respectively. Turning to non-EU28 countries, stays by Russian residents dropped by 60.5%, while those by US residents rose by 31.3%.


Since 2012, the Bank of Greece has conducted a cruise-specific survey (the “Cruise Survey”) to enrich the data collected through its Border Survey (3). In line with standard practice, detailed cruise data were collected for the first half of 2015 from 16 Greek ports, covering 84.4% of all cruise ship arrivals.

In January-June 2015, 1,490 cruise ship arrivals (January-June 2014: 1,289) and 1,626 thousand cruise passenger visits (January-June 2014: 1,599 thousand) were recorded. It should be noted that a breakdown by country of origin is not at present available for the Cruise Survey data. This survey revealed that 91.6% of all cruise passengers were transit visitors, with an average of 1.9 stopovers at Greek ports of call, unchanged from January-June 2014.

In January-June 2015, total receipts from cruise passengers rose by 0.5% year-on-year to €154.8 million. Of this amount, €19.5 million was included in Border Survey data (4), as it represented receipts from visitors leaving the country through Greek last ports, while the remaining €135.3 million represented additional receipts data recorded by the Cruise Survey.

Chart 7 shows a breakdown of cruise receipts by port. With a share of 41.5% in total cruise receipts, the port of Piraeus ranks first in terms of cruise receipts, followed by the port of Corfu with 13.3% and the port of Santorini with 9.7%. The seven most important cruise ship ports account for 86.4% of total cruise receipts and 82.7% of total cruise passenger arrivals.

In the period under review, the total number of cruise visitors increased by 2.7% year-on-year to an estimated 843 thousand, while overnight stays off the cruise ship decreased by 5.3% to an estimated 1,212 thousand. It should be noted that the rise in cruise ship arrivals and visitors had a positive impact on cruise receipts, even as overnight stays trended downwards.

(1) The remaining 9.6% corresponds to data on cruise arrivals not collected through the Border Survey (“non-BS cruise data”), for which a breakdown by country of origin is not as yet available.
(2) It should be noted that each same-day visit, irrespective of duration, is assigned one overnight stay.
(3) Overall cruise data are thus derived from two sources:
(a) The Border Survey, which records data on cruise travellers leaving the country through a Greek point of exit (airport, land transport station or sea port). In this case, the cruise data are integrated into the overall data collected through the Border Survey.
(b) The complementary Cruise Survey, launched by the Bank of Greece in 2012. The survey is based on administrative data and seeks to capture the rest of cruise travellers, grouping them into: (i) travellers with a Greek home port; (ii) travellers with a Greek last port; and (iii) transit travellers who only use Greek ports as ports of call.
(4) Due to the different methodology applied in 2012, the pilot year of cruise data collection, the allocation of cruise receipts data between the Border Survey and the Cruise Survey is not fully comparable with that of subsequent years.

Related link: Developments in the balance of travel services – January-June 2015_Appendix




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