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Developments in the balance of travel services – January-March 2018

16/07/2018 - Press Releases

Balance of travel services
Based on final data, the balance of travel services in January-March 2018 posted a surplus of €127 million, up 47.3% from a surplus of €86 million in January-March 2017. This development is attributed to the increase in travel receipts (by €64 million or 13.2%), which outweighed the increase in payments (by €24 million or 5.9%). The rise in travel receipts in January-March 2018 over the same period of 2017 was driven by a 12.4% increase in the number of non-resident inbound visitors, as well as by a rise in average expenditure per trip by €2 or 0.7% (January-March 2018: €301, January-March 2017: €299).
Specifically, expenditure per overnight stay rose by 2.2% (January-March 2018: €55, January-March 2017: €54), while the average length of stay fell by 1.5% year-on-year to 5.4 nights (January-March 2017: 5.5 nights). The number of overnight stays increased by 10.7% to 10,026 thousand in January-March 2018, from 9,057 thousand in January-March 2017.

Travel receipts
Travel receipts in January-March 2018 totalled €554 million, up 13.2% relative to the same period of 2017. This development was driven by a 22.0% increase in receipts from residents of the EU28, which came to €326 million or 58.8% of total travel receipts, and by a 3.5% rise in receipts from residents outside the EU28 to €221 million.
In particular, receipts from euro area residents increased by 20.6% year-on-year to €217 million, while receipts from residents of non-euro area EU28 countries also rose, by 24.9% to €109 million.
Among major countries of origin, receipts from Germany rose by 35.7% to €78 million, as did receipts from France, by 17.4% to €17 million. Receipts from the United Kingdom also increased, by 24.0% to €42 million. Turning to non-EU28 countries, receipts from Russia fell by 34.1% to €9 million, whereas receipts from the United States decreased by 33.6% to €35 million.

Travel receipts by trip purpose
Looking at the breakdown of non-resident expenditure in Greece by trip purpose, trips for personal reasons represented the bulk of receipts in January-March 2018, with a share of 74.7% in total expenditure, up from 72.3% in the same period of 2017, as the corresponding receipts increased by 17.0%. Within this category, leisure accounted for the largest share of total expenditure (January-March 2018: 44.0%, January-March 2017: 43.1%), with the corresponding receipts increasing by 15.5% to €244 million. Trips for the purpose of visiting family, with a share of 17.5% in total expenditure, showed a rise of 26.7% in corresponding receipts. Receipts from trips for health purposes decreased by 19.8% to €9 million. Finally, receipts from business trips increased by 3.2%, but their share in total receipts declined (January-March 2018: 25.3%, January-March 2017: 27.7%).

Inbound traveller flows
As already mentioned, the number of inbound visitors in January-March 2018 rose by 12.4% to 1,840 thousand, from 1,637 thousand in January-March 2017. Specifically, visitor flows through airports increased by 8.9%, as did visitor flows through road border-crossing points, by 18.6%. Visitors from within the EU28 accounted for 58.2% of the total number of visitors, while visitors from outside the EU28 accounted for 39.4% (1). In January-March 2018, visitors from the EU28 increased by 12.0% relative to the same period of 2017. This development is attributed to an increase in the number of visitors from euro area countries (up 15.8% to 524 thousand), as well as to a rise in the number of visitors from the non-euro area EU28 countries (up 8.7% to 547 thousand). The number of visitors from non-EU28 countries rose by 13.9% to 725 thousand.
In particular, visitors from Germany increased by 26.9% to 196 thousand, as did visitors from France, by 35.6% to 39 thousand. Visitors from the United Kingdom also increased, by 11.0% to 101 thousand. Finally, turning to non-EU28 countries, the number of visitors from Russia fell by 36.6% to 16 thousand, as did the number of visitors from the United States, by 13.0% to 71 thousand.

Overnight stays (2) 
In January-March 2018, the number of overnight stays in Greece totalled 10,026 thousand, up by 10.7% from 9,057 thousand in January-March 2017. This reflected an increase of 18.9% in nights spent by residents of the EU28, as nights spent by residents of non-EU28 countries fell by 4.2%. The rise in overnight stays by residents of the EU28 is attributed to increases by 24.7% in nights spent by residents of the euro area and by 6.9% in nights spent by residents of non-euro area EU28 countries. The number of overnight stays increased by 43.6% for German residents, by 71.0% for French residents and by 6.8% for UK residents. Turning to non-EU28 countries, the number of overnight stays by Russian residents declined by 16.6%, as did overnight stays by US residents, by 13.1%.

Since 2012, the Bank of Greece conducts a cruise-specific survey (“Cruise Survey”) in order to enrich the data collected through its Border Survey (3). Following a standardised methodology, detailed cruise data for the period January-March 2018 were collected from 16 Greek ports, covering 87.8% of all cruise ship arrivals.
The period under review saw 41 cruise ship arrivals (January-March 2017: 92) and 67 thousand cruise passenger visits (January-March 2017: 82 thousand). According to this survey, 85.7% of all cruise passengers were transit visitors, with an average of 1.5 stopovers at Greek ports of call (down from 1.7 stopovers in January-Μarch 2018).
Total receipts from cruise passengers in January-March 2018 fell by 18.3% year-on-year to €8 million. Of this amount, €1 million had already been captured in the Border Survey data, as it represents receipts from visitors leaving the country through Greek last ports, while the remaining €7 million concern additional receipts data recorded by the complementary Cruise Survey.
Chart 7 shows a breakdown of cruise receipts by port. The port of Katakolon ranks first with a share of 35.7% in total cruises receipts, followed by the port of Piraeus with 35.6% and the port of Corfu with 8.6%. The seven most important cruise ship ports account for 94.3% of total cruise receipts and 89.4% of total cruise passenger visits.
Total overnight stays ashore decreased year-on-year in the period under review by 6.0% to 101 thousand, as did the total number of cruise visitors, by 5.3% to an estimated 45 thousand, with a negative impact on cruise receipts.

Balance of travel services by region (4) 
As shown by the Border Survey, travel receipts in the period January-March 2018 amounted to €547 million. Six regions accounted for the bulk (86.7%) of total receipts (Table 8), namely: Attica (€272 million), Central Macedonia (€99 million), Eastern Macedonia and Trace (€42 million), Western Greece (€24 million), Epirus (€21 million) and the Peloponnese (€17 million). The remaining regions (the Southern Aegean, Central Greece, Thessaly, Crete, the Northern Aegean, the Ionian Islands and Western Macedonia) together accounted for €73 million.
Visits to Greece (all 13 regions combined) in January-March 2018 totalled 2,053 thousand. The number of visits exceeds the number of inbound visitors, as travellers may visit more than one region in the course of one trip.
The six most popular regional destinations, accounting for 87.9% of total visits, were: Attica (751 thousand visits), Central Macedonia (560 thousand), Eastern Macedonia and Trace (248 thousand), Epirus (106 thousand), Western Greece (76 thousand) and Central Greece (63 thousand). The remaining regions (the Peloponnese, the Southern Aegean, Thessaly, Western Macedonia, Crete, the Ionian Islands and the Northern Aegean) together accounted for 249 thousand visits.
The number of overnight stays in Greece in the period under review totalled 9.940 thousand. According to the breakdown into the 13 regions, six regions accounted for 87.2% of total overnight stays, namely: Attica (4,799 thousand nights), Central Macedonia (2,210 thousand), Eastern Macedonia and Thrace (601 thousand), Western Greece (382 thousand), the Peloponnese (372 thousand) and the Southern Aegean (309 thousand). The remaining regions (Epirus, Crete, Thessaly, Central Greece, the Ionian Islands, Western Macedonia and the Northern Aegean) together accounted for 1,268 thousand overnight stays.

(1) The remaining 2.4% corresponds to data on cruise passenger flows other than those collected through the Border Survey (“non-BS cruise data”).
(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, road border-crossing point or sea port). In this case, the cruise data are integrated into the overall Border Survey statistics.
(b) The complementary Cruise Survey, launched by the Bank of Greece in 2012. (i) travellers with a Greek home port; (ii) travellers with a Greek last port; and (iii) transit travellers stopping over at Greek ports of call.
(4) The regional figures do not include cruise data collected from sources other than the Border Survey.

Related link: Developments in the balance of travel services: January-March - Table

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