Developments in the balance of travel services: January - September 2015
14/01/2016 - Press Releases
Balance of travel services
Based on the final data, the surplus of the balance of travel services was €11,269 million in January-September 2015, up 7.7% from a surplus of €10,464 million in January-September 2014, as travel receipts increased by €787 million or 6.6% year-on-year and travel payments decreased by €18 million or 1.2%. Higher travel receipts in January-September 2015 were mainly driven by an increase of 9.1% in non-resident arrivals, as the average expenditure per trip decreased by €13 or 2.3% to €566.
Specifically, expenditure per stay increased by 4.2% (January-September 2015: €75, January-September 2014: €72), while the average length of stay declined by 6.2% year-on-year to 7.5 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. In January-September 2015, overnight stays increased by 2.3% to 170,063 thousand.
In January-September 2015, travel receipts totalled €12,788 million, rising by 6.6% year-on-year. This development was primarily due to the fact that receipts from residents of the EU28 increased by 16.7% to €8,632 million, accounting for 67.5% of total travel receipts, while receipts from outside the EU28 decreased by 11.7% to €3,789 million.
In particular, receipts from euro area residents increased by 12.6% to €5,499 million and receipts from residents of non-euro area countries of the EU28 rose by 24.6% to €3,133 million.
Among major countries of origin, receipts from Germany rose by 16.0% to €2,007 million, those from France by 7.2% to €1,113 million and those from the United Kingdom by 33.7% to €1,868 million. Turning to non-EU28 countries, receipts from Russia fell by 64.8% to €389 million, while those from the United States increased by 47.4% to €856 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-September 2015, with a share of 95.3% in total expenditure, up from 94.8% in the same period of 2014. Within this category, leisure accounted for the largest share of total expenditure (January-September 2015: 85.6%, January-September 2014: 85.7%), while trips for the purpose of visiting family had a share of 3.5% and showed a rise of 6.8% year-on-year in the corresponding receipts. The 7.0% increase in receipts from trips for personal reasons mainly reflected an increase of €664 million or 6.5% in receipts from leisure trips. Receipts from health trips also rose, by 48.2% to €31 million. Finally, receipts from business trips decreased by 2.1% and their share in total receipts declined (January-September 2015: 4.7%, January-September 2014: 5.2%).
Inbound traveller flows
As already mentioned, the number of inbound visitors rose by 9.1% to 22,596 thousand in January-September 2015 from 20,718 thousand one year earlier. Of this total, 58.1% was accounted for by arrivals from the EU28 and 33.2% by arrivals from outside the EU28 (1). In the period under review, arrivals from within the EU28 increased by 17.1% year-on-year, as arrivals from non-euro area EU28 countries increased by 24.3% to 5,945 thousand and those from the euro area by 11.7% to 7,176 thousand. Arrivals from non-EU28 countries decreased by 3.7% to 7,497 thousand.
In particular, arrivals from Germany and France rose by 17.8% and 2.0%, respectively. Arrivals from the United Kingdom increased by 17.5% to 2,124 thousand. Finally, turning to non-EU28 countries, arrivals from Russia fell by 62.1% to 441 thousand, while those from the United States increased by 35.3% to 659 thousand.
Overnight stays (2)
In January-September 2015, overnight stays in Greece were 170,063 thousand, up 2.3% from 166,232 thousand in the same period of 2014. This reflected an increase of 11.1% in stays by residents of the EU28, as stays by residents of non-EU28 countries fell by 16.5%. Higher stays by residents of the EU28 resulted from a rise of 19.3% in stays by residents of non-euro area EU28 countries and an increase of 6.6% in stays by residents of the euro area. Stays by German residents increased by 6.4% and those by French and UK residents by 0.3% and 20.6%, respectively. Turning to non-EU28 countries, stays by Russian residents dropped by 59.9%, while those by US residents rose by 28.6%.
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 January-September 2015 from 16 Greek ports, covering 84.6% of all cruise ship arrivals.
In January-September 2015, 3,544 cruise ship arrivals (January-September 2014: 3,118) and 4,137 thousand cruise passenger visits (January-June 2014: 3,947 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 89.9% of all cruise passengers were transit visitors, with an average of 2.0 stopovers at Greek ports of call, virtually unchanged from January-September 2014.
In January-September 2015, total receipts from cruise passengers rose by 13.6% year-on-year to €419 million. Of this amount, €52.7 million was included in Border Survey data (4), as it represented receipts from visitors leaving the country through Greek last ports, while the remaining €366.6 million represented additional receipts data recorded by the Cruise Survey.
Chart 7 shows a breakdown of cruise receipts by port. With a share of 45.2% in total cruise receipts, the port of Piraeus ranks first in terms of cruise receipts, followed by the port of Corfu with 12.6% and the port of Santorini with 9.5%. The seven most important cruise ship ports account for 88.0% of total cruise receipts and 82.8% of total cruise passenger arrivals.
In the period under review, the total number of cruise visitors increased by 12.2% year-on-year to an estimated 2,084 thousand, while overnight stays off the cruise ship rose by 21.9% to 3,615 thousand, exerting a positive impact on cruise receipts.
(1) The remaining 8.8% 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 - September 2015 - Appendix