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Developments in the balance of travel services: May 2021

22/07/2021 - Press Releases

  • The balance of travel services posted a surplus of €112 million in May 2021 and a surplus of €137 million in January-May 2021.
  • Travel receipts rose by 286.2% in May 2021, but decreased by 51.2% in January-May 2021.
  • Inbound traveller flows increased by 413.7% in May 2021, but fell by 65.5% in January-May 2021.


Balance of travel services

Based on provisional data, the balance of travel services in May 2021 showed a surplus of €112 million, up from a surplus of €12 million in May 2020. More specifically, travel receipts in May 2021 rose by 286.2% to €168 million, from €44 million in May 2020, while travel payments also increased by 77.7% (May 2021: €56 million, May 2020: €32 million). The rise in travel receipts was due to a 413.7% year-on-year increase in inbound traveller flows, as average expenditure per trip declined by 26.0%. Net receipts from travel services offset 6,2% of the goods deficit and contributed 35,5% to total net receipts from services.

In January-May 2021, the balance of travel services showed a surplus of €137 million, up from a surplus of €218 million in the respective period of 2020. Travel receipts fell by €333 million or 51.2% to €317 million, while travel payments also decreased by €253 million or 58.3% to €180 million. The decrease in travel receipts was driven by a decline in inbound traveller flows (-65.5%), whereas average expenditure per trip rose by 30.1%. Net receipts from travel services offset 1.6% of the goods deficit and contributed 10.1% to total net receipts from services.

Travel receipts

In May 2021, as mentioned previously, travel receipts rose by 286.2% year-on-year. In more detail, receipts from residents of EU27 countries increased by 465.6% to €123 million, while receipts from outside the EU27 rose by 95.7% (May 2021: €43 million, May 2020: €22 million). The rise in receipts from within the EU27 was due to increases in receipts from euro area residents by 555.1% to €102 million (May 2020: €16 million) and in receipts from residents of non-euro area EU27 countries by 241.8% to €21 million. Among major countries of origin, receipts from Germany rose by 553.3% to €38 million and receipts from France increased by 1,791.0% to €25 million. Turning to non-EU27 countries, receipts from the United Kingdom increased by 671.5% to €7 million and receipts from the United States increased by 3,328.2% to €5 million. Receipts from Russia fell by 75.3% and remained under €1 million.

In January-May 2021, travel receipts decreased by 51.2% year-on-year to 317 million. This development was driven by a 19.0% decline in receipts from residents of EU27 countries, which fell to €212 million, and by a 73.3% drop in receipts from residents of non-EU27 countries to €103 million. In greater detail, receipts from euro area residents fell by 19.0% to €170 million, while receipts from residents of non-euro area EU27 countries fell by 18.8% to €42 million. In particular, receipts from Germany increased by 12.8% to €63 million and receipts from France increased by 82.6% to €30 million. Turning to non-EU27 countries, receipts from the United Kingdom fell by 70.4% to €16 million and receipts from the United States decreased by 87.0% to €8 million. Receipts from Russia also decreased, by 94.6% to less than €1 million.


Inbound traveller flows1

The number of inbound travellers in May 2021 rose by 413.7% year-on-year to 285 thousand. Specifically, traveller flows through airports increased significantly compared with May 2020 and traveller flows through road border-crossing points increased by 35.2%. This overall increase was due to higher traveller flows from both within the EU27 (up by 699.7%) and outside the EU27 (up by 166.5%). In greater detail, the number of travellers from within the euro area rose by 3,968.7% to 151 thousand, while travellers from non-euro area EU27 countries rose by 148.8% to 55 thousand. In particular, the number of travellers from Germany rose to 55 thousand, while travellers from France also rose to 31 thousand. Turning to non-EU27 countries, the number of travellers from the United Kingdom and the United States stood at 12 thousand and 4 thousand respectively, while travellers from Russia were less than 1 thousand.

In January-May 2021, the number of inbound travellers fell by 65.5% to 664 thousand (January-May 2020: 1,921 thousand). Specifically, traveller flows through airports declined by 63.1% and traveller flows through road border-crossing points fell by 74.5%. In the period under review, the number of travellers from within the EU27 fell by 55.0% year-on-year to 427 thousand, while travellers from outside the EU27 dropped by 75.7% to 237 thousand. The number of travellers from within the euro area fell by 41.0%, while travellers from non-euro area EU27 countries dropped by 69.6%. Specifically, the number of travellers from Germany decreased by 22.5% to 105 thousand, whereas travellers from France increased by 27.4% to 43 thousand. Turning to non-EU27 countries, the number of travellers from the United Kingdom fell by 74.0% to 30 thousand, while the number of travellers from the United States dropped by 91.0% to 8 thousand and from Russia from 95.1% to 1 thousand.

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

Related information:

The next Press Release on “Developments in the balance of travel services” for June 2021 will be published on 23 August 2021, in accordance with the Advance release calendar posted on the Bank of Greece website.

Related link(s):

Detailed and final data on the balance of travel services are published in the Travel services section of the Bank of Greece website.

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