Developments in the balance of travel services – 2015
14/04/2016 - Press Releases
Balance of travel services
Based on the final data, the surplus of the balance of travel services was €12,088 million in 2015, up 6.8% from a surplus of €11,317 million in 2014, as travel receipts increased by €733 million or 5.5% year-on-year and travel payments decreased by €39 million or 1.9%. Higher travel receipts in 2015 were mainly driven by an increase of 7.6% in non-resident arrivals, as average expenditure per trip decreased by €11 (or 2.0%) to €541.
Specifically, expenditure per stay rose by 4.9% (2015: €75, 2014: €72), while the average length of stay declined by 6.5% year-on-year to 7.2 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 2015, overnight stays increased by 0.6% to 188,012 thousand.
In 2015, travel receipts totalled €14,126 million, rising by 5.5% year-on-year. This development was primarily due to the fact that receipts from residents of the EU28 increased by 14.1% to €9,403 million, accounting for 66.5% of total travel receipts, while receipts from outside the EU28 dropped by 10.2% to €4,276 million.
In particular, receipts from euro area residents increased by 10.2% to €6,009 million, while receipts from residents of non-euro area countries of the EU28 rose by 21.6% to €3,395 million.
Among major countries of origin, receipts from Germany rose by 12.5% to €2,245 million, those from France by 5.8% to €1,194 million and those from the United Kingdom by 30.1% to €2,020 million. Among non-EU28 countries, receipts from Russia fell by 63.6% to €421 million, while those from the United States increased by 44.0% to €943 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 2015, with a share of 94.5% in total expenditure, up from 94.2% in 2014. Within this category, leisure accounted for the largest share of total expenditure (2015: 84.1%, 2014: 84.3%), while trips for the purpose of visiting family had a share of 3.9% and showed a rise of 8.2% year-on-year in the corresponding receipts. The 5.8% increase in receipts from trips for personal reasons mainly reflected an increase of €586 million or 5.2% in receipts from leisure trips. Receipts from health trips also rose, by 25.9% to €37 million. Finally, receipts from business trips increased by 0.7%, but their share in total receipts declined (2015: 5.5%, 2014: 5.8%).
Inbound traveller flows
As already mentioned, the number of inbound visitors rose by 7.6% to 26,114 thousand in 2015, from 24,272 thousand a year earlier. Of this total, 57.4% was accounted for by arrivals from the EU28 and 33.0% by arrivals from outside the EU28 (1). In 2015, arrivals from within the EU28 increased by 13.0% year-on-year, as arrivals from non-euro area EU28 countries rose by 17.1% to 6,785 thousand and those from the euro area by 9.8% to 8,189 thousand. Arrivals from non-EU28 countries dropped by 1.8% to 8,625 thousand.
In particular, arrivals from Germany and France rose by 14.3% and 4.0%, respectively. Arrivals from the United Kingdom also increased, by 14.7% to 2,397 thousand. Finally, turning to non-EU28 countries, arrivals from Russia fell by 59.0% to 513 thousand, while those from the United States increased by 26.8% to 750 thousand.
Overnight stays (2)
In 2015, overnight stays in Greece were 188,012 thousand, up 0.6% from 186,928 thousand in 2014. This reflected an increase of 7.8% in stays by residents of the EU28, as stays by residents of non-EU28 countries fell by 15.2%. Higher stays by residents of the EU28 resulted from a 13.9% rise in stays by residents of non-euro area EU28 countries and a 4.3% increase in stays by residents of the euro area. Stays by German and UK residents increased by 3.5% and 16.3%, respectively, whereas those by French residents decreased by 0.6%. Turning to non-EU28 countries, stays by Russian residents dropped by 58.3%, while those by US residents rose by 25.6%.
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 2015 from 16 Greek ports, covering 85.4% of all cruise ship arrivals.
In the period under review, 4,375 cruise ship arrivals (2014: 3,858) and 5,118 thousand cruise passenger visits (2014: 4,918 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 90.5% of all cruise passengers were transit visitors, with an average of 2.0 stopovers at Greek ports of call, virtually unchanged from 2014.
In 2015, total receipts from cruise passengers rose by 10.2% year-on-year to €504 million. Of this amount, €57 million was included in Border Survey data (4), as it represented receipts from visitors leaving the country through Greek last ports, while the remaining €447 million represented additional receipts data recorded by the Cruise Survey.
Chart 7 shows a breakdown of cruise receipts by port. With a share of 43.6% 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 9.6%. The seven most important cruise ship ports account for 87.8% of total cruise receipts and 83.4% of total cruise passenger arrivals.
In the period under review, the total number of cruise visitors increased by 9.9% year-on-year to 2,633 thousand, while overnight stays off the cruise ship rose by 14.4% to 4,009 thousand, exerting a positive impact on cruise receipts.
(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 – 2015_Appendix