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Developments in the balance of travel services: January - June 2017

10/10/2017 - Press Releases

Balance of travel services

Based on final data, the balance of travel services in January-June 2017 posted a surplus of €3,147 million, up 8.5% from a surplus of €2,901 million in January-June 2016. This development is attributed primarily to an increase of €236 million or 6.2% in travel receipts and, to a lesser extent, to a decrease of €10 million or 1.1% in travel payments. The rise in travel receipts in January-June 2017 over the same period of 2016 was driven by an increase in average expenditure per trip by about €25 or 5.3% (January-June 2017: €476, January-June 2016: €451), as well as by a 0.8% rise in the number of non-resident inbound visitors.

Specifically, expenditure per overnight stay increased slightly (by 0.8%) to €68, while the average length of stay remained virtually unchanged year-on-year at 7 nights. The number of overnight stays increased by 5.3% to 59,859 thousand in January-June 2017, from 56,868 thousand in January-June 2016.

Travel receipts

In January-June 2017, travel receipts totalled €4,077 million, up 6.2% relative to the same period of 2016. This development was driven by a 6.7% increase in receipts from residents of the EU28, which came to €2,654 million or 65.1% of total travel receipts, and by a rise in receipts from residents outside the EU28 (up 7.2% to €1,276 million).

In particular, receipts from euro area residents increased by 10.6% year-on-year to €1,640 million, while receipts from residents of non-euro area EU28 countries rose by 1.0% to €1,014 million.

Among major countries of origin, receipts from Germany rose by 12.7% to €672 million, as did receipts from France, by 4.5% to €247 million. Receipts from the United Kingdom also increased, by 9.7% to €661 million. Turning to non-EU28 countries, receipts from Russia rose by 17.8% to €129 million, while receipts from the United States also increased, by 1.9% to €273 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-June 2017, with a share of 92.0% in total expenditure, up from 90.6% in the same period of 2016, as the corresponding receipts increased by 7.8%. Within this category, leisure accounted for the largest share of total expenditure (January-June 2017: 80.7%, January-June 2016: 79.0%), with the corresponding receipts increasing by 8.4% to €3,291 million. Trips for the purpose of visiting family accounted for 5.8% (or 238 million). Receipts from trips for health purposes rose by 96.8% to €24 million. Finally, receipts from business trips dropped by 9.6%, lowering their share in total receipts (January-June 2017: 8.0%, January-June 2016: 9.4%).

Inbound traveller flows

As already mentioned, the number of inbound visitors in January-June 2017, increased by 0.8% to 8,574 thousand, from 8,508 thousand in January-June 2016. This development is attributed to an increase, by 494 thousand or 6.6%, in the number of inbound visitors excluding cruise passengers, which was largely offset by a drop in the number of cruise passengers (down 428 thousand or 40.3%). Specifically, visitor flows through airports increased by 11.3%, while visitor flows through road border-crossing points declined by 4.1%. Visitors from within the EU28 accounted for 62.2% of the total number of visitors and visitors from outside the EU28 for 30.4% (1). In January-June 2017, visitors from the EU28 increased by 7.9% relative to the same period of 2016. This development is attributed to an increase in the number of visitors from euro area countries by 18.5% to 2,864 thousand, as visitors from the non-euro area EU28 countries decreased by 2.3% to 2,467 thousand. The number of visitors from non-EU28 countries rose by 4.2% to 2,609 thousand.

In particular, visitors from Germany increased by 18.0% to 1,048 thousand, as did visitors from France, by 12.3% to 413 thousand. Visitors from the United Kingdom also increased, by 3.2% to 958 thousand. Finally, turning to non-EU28 countries, the number of visitors from Russia rose by 15.1% to 187 thousand, whereas the number of visitors from the United States fell by 2.3% to 298 thousand.

Overnight stays (2)

In January-June 2017, the number of overnight stays in Greece totalled 59,859 thousand, up by 5.3% from 56,868 thousand in January-June 2016. This was driven by a 7.5% increase in nights spent by residents of non-EU28 countries, as well as by a 3.9% rise in nights spent by residents of the EU28. The increase in overnight stays by residents of the EU28 is attributed to a 9.2% increase in nights spent by residents of the euro area, as nights spent by residents of non-euro area EU28 countries fell by 3.8%. The number of overnight stays increased by 11.5% for German residents, by 3.8% for French residents and by 10.2% for UK residents. Turning to non-EU28 countries, the number of overnight stays by Russian residents increased by 0.5%, while those by US residents decreased by 0.3%.

Cruises

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-June 2017 were collected from 16 Greek ports, covering 86.7% of all cruise ship arrivals.

The period under review saw 1,178 cruise ship arrivals (January-June 2016: 1,487) and 1,565 thousand cruise passenger visits (January-June 2016: 1,783 thousand). According to this survey, 90.1% of all cruise passengers were transit visitors, with an average of 2.3 stopovers at Greek ports of call (down from 1.6 stopovers in January-June 2016).

In January-June 2017, total receipts from cruise passengers fell by 7.9%, relative to the same period of 2016, to €163 million. Of this amount, €16 million were already captured in the Border Survey data, as they represent receipts from visitors leaving the country through Greek last ports, while the remaining €147 million concern additional receipts data recorded by the Cruise Survey. Τhe fact that the decrease in cruise receipts was significantly lower than the drop in the number of cruise passenger visits is attributed to an increase in the number of cruise passengers with a Greek home port.

Chart 7 shows a breakdown of cruise receipts by port. The port of Piraeus ranks first with a share of 48.6% in total cruise receipts, followed by the port of Corfu with 14.4% and the port of Santorini with 7.7%. The seven most important cruise ship ports account for 91.4% of total cruise receipts and 87.1% of total cruise passenger visits.

Total overnight stays ashore increased year-on-year in the period under review by 24.1% to 1,692 thousand, while the total number of cruise visitors fell sharply (by 38.9%) to an estimated 667 thousand, with a negative impact on cruise receipts.

Balance of travel receipts by region (4)

As shown by the Border Survey, travel receipts in the period January-June 2017 amounted to €3,930 million. Five regions accounted for the bulk (88.9%) of total receipts (Τable 8), namely: the Southern Aegean (€921 million), Crete (€906 million), Attica (€803 million), Central Macedonia (€469 million) and the Ionian Islands (€395 million). The remaining regions (the Peloponnese, Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, Thessaly, Epirus, Western Greece, Central Greece, the Northern Aegean and Western Macedonia) together accounted for €437 million.

Visits to Greece (all 13 regions combined) in January-June 2017 totalled 9,025 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 87.7% of total visits, were: Attica (1,986 thousand visits), Central Macedonia (1,948 thousand), the Southern Aegean (1,497 thousand), Crete (1,367 thousand), the Ionian Islands (597 thousand) and Eastern Macedonia and Thrace (519 thousand). The remaining regions (Epirus, the Peloponnese, Western Greece, Thessaly, Central Greece, Western Macedonia and the Northern Aegean) together accounted for 1,112 thousand visits.

The number of overnight stays in Greece in the period under review totalled 58,513 thousand. According to the breakdown into the 13 regions, five regions accounted for 86.8% of total overnight stays, namely: the Southern Aegean (12,701 thousand nights), Crete (12,422 thousand), Attica (11,167 thousand), Central Macedonia (9,407 thousand) and the Ionian Islands (5,111 thousand). The remaining regions (the Peloponnese, Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, Thessaly, Epirus, the Northern Aegean, Western Greece, Central Greece and Western Macedonia) together accounted for 7,707 thousand overnight stays.

(1) The remaining 7.4% 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. 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 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: Appendix

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