Developments in the balance of travel services: January-September 2017
17/01/2018 - Press Releases
Balance of travel services
Based on final data, the balance of travel services in January-September 2017 posted a surplus of €11,571 million, up 12.8% from a surplus of €10,258 million in January-September 2016. This development is attributed primarily to an increase of €1,240 million or 10.5% in travel receipts and, to a lesser extent, to a decrease of €74 million or 4.8% in travel payments. The rise in travel receipts in January-September 2017 over the same period of 2016 was driven by an 8.0% increase in the number of non-resident inbound visitors, as well as by a rise in average expenditure per trip by about €11 or 2.3% (January-September 2017: €503, January-September 2016: €491).
Specifically, expenditure per overnight stay increased slightly (by 0.8%) to €69, while the average length of stay remained virtually unchanged year-on-year at 7 nights. Τhe number of overnight stays increased in January-September 2017 by 9.6% to 188,272 thousand, from 171,754 thousand in January-September 2016.
Travel receipts in January-September 2017 totalled €13,021 million, up 10.5% relative to the same period of 2016. This development was driven by a 7.9% increase in receipts from residents of the EU28, which came to €8,835 million or 67.9% of total travel receipts, and by a 19.5% rise in receipts from residents outside the EU28 to €3,832 million.
In particular, receipts from euro area residents increased by 11.4% year-on-year to €5,582 million, while receipts from residents of non-euro area EU28 countries also rose, by 2.4% to €3,254 million.
Among major countries of origin, receipts from Germany rose by 17.1% to €2,151 million, as did receipts from France, by 12.8% to €932 million. Receipts from the United Kingdom also increased, by 8.6% to €1,879 million. Turning to non-EU28 countries, receipts from Russia fell by 3.3% to €387 million, whereas receipts from the United States increased by 9.3% to €692 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-September 2017, with a share of 95.1% in total expenditure, up from 94.7% in the same period of 2016, as the corresponding receipts increased by 10.9%. Within this category, leisure accounted for the largest share of total expenditure (January-September 2017: 87.4%, January-September 2016: 86.3%), with the corresponding receipts increasing by 11.9% to €11,380 million. Trips for the purpose of visiting family accounted for 4.5% or €591 million. Receipts from trips for health purposes rose by 52.2% to €41 million. Finally, receipts from business trips increased by 3.8%, but their share in total receipts declined (January-September 2017: 4.9%, January-September 2016: 5.3%).
Inbound traveller flows
As already mentioned, the number of inbound visitors in January-September 2017 increased by 8.0% to 25,914 thousand, from 23,984 thousand in January-September 2016. Specifically, visitor flows through airports increased by 9.9%, as did visitor flows through road border-crossing points, by 10.7%. Visitors from within the EU28 accounted for 61.9% of the total number of visitors, while visitors from outside the EU28 accounted for 28.9% (1). In January-September 2017, visitors from the EU28 increased by 8.1% relative to the same period of 2016. This development is attributed to an increase in the number of visitors from euro area countries (up 9.8% to 8,427 thousand), as well as to a rise in the number of visitors from the non-euro area EU28 countries (up 6.3% to 7,620 thousand). The number of visitors from non-EU28 countries rose by 15.1% to 7,488 thousand.
In particular, visitors from Germany increased by 15.0% to 2,915 thousand, as did visitors from France, by 8.8% to 1,290 thousand. Visitors from the United Kingdom also increased, by 6.9% to 2,625 thousand. Finally, turning to non-EU28 countries, the number of visitors from Russia rose by 1.1% to 531 thousand, as did the number of visitors from the United States, by 11.6% to 715 thousand.
Overnight stays (2)
In January-September 2017, overnight stays in Greece totalled 188,272 thousand, up by 9.6% from 171,754 thousand in January-September 2016. This was driven by a 23.2% increase in nights spent by residents of non-EU28 countries, as well as by a 4.8% rise in nights spent by residents of the EU28. The rise in overnight stays by residents of the EU28 is attributed to increases by 6.2% in nights spent by residents of the euro area and by 2.7% by residents of non-euro area EU28 countries. The number of overnight stays increased by 10.6% for German residents, by 6.3% for French residents and by 2.8% for UK residents. Turning to non-EU28 countries, the number of overnight stays by Russian residents dropped by 1.0%, while those by US residents rose by 12.1%.
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-September 2017 were collected from 16 Greek ports, covering 88.3% of all cruise ship arrivals.
The period under review saw 2,685 cruise ship arrivals (January-September 2016: 3,400) and 3,761 thousand cruise passenger visits (January-September 2016: 4,181 thousand). According to this survey, 90.3% of all cruise passengers were transit visitors, with an average of 1.5 stopovers at Greek ports of call, unchanged from January-September 2016.
Total receipts from cruise passengers in January-September 2017 fell by 7.9% year-on-year to €395 million. Of this amount, €42 million had already been captured in the Border Survey data, as they represent receipts from visitors leaving the country through Greek last ports, while the remaining €354 million concern additional receipts data recorded by the complementary Cruise Survey.
Chart 7 shows a breakdown of cruise receipts by port. The port of Piraeus ranks first with a share of 46.9% in total cruise receipts, followed by the port of Corfu with 14.8% and the port of Mykonos with 9.2%. The seven most important cruise ship ports account for 91.8% of total cruise receipts and 87.9% of total cruise passenger visits.
Total overnight stays ashore in the period under review increased year-on-year by 4.6% to 3,786 thousand, while the total number of cruise visitors fell by 10.3% to an estimated 2,455 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-September 2017 amounted to €12,667 million. Five regions accounted for the bulk (88.9%) of total receipts (Table 8), namely: the Southern Aegean (€3,287 million), Crete (€2,922 million), the Ionian Islands (€1,706 million), Central Macedonia (€1,677 million) and Attica (€1,666 million). The remaining regions (Thessaly, the Peloponnese, Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, Epirus, the Northern Aegean, Western Greece, Central Greece and Western Macedonia) together accounted for €1,409 million.
Visits to Greece (all 13 regions combined) in January-September 2017 totalled 26,790 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 88.2% of total visits, were: Central Macedonia (6,413 thousand visits), the Southern Aegean (5,083 thousand), Crete (4,152 thousand), Attica (4,090 thousand), the Ionian Islands (2,785 thousand) and Eastern Macedonia and Thrace (1,115 thousand). The remaining regions (Thessaly, Epirus, the Peloponnese, Western Greece, the Northern Aegean, Central Greece and Western Macedonia) together accounted for 3,151 thousand overnight stays.
The number of overnight stays in Greece in the period under review totalled 185,227 thousand. According to the breakdown into the 13 regions, five regions accounted for 86.7% of total overnight stays, namely: the Southern Aegean (41,215 thousand nights), Central Macedonia (37,271 thousand), Crete (35,895 thousand), the Ionian Islands (23,722 thousand) and Attica (22,462 thousand). The remaining regions (Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, Thessaly, the Peloponnese, Epirus, the Northern Aegean, Western Greece, Central Greece and Western Macedonia) together accounted for 24,662 thousand overnight stays.
(1) The remaining 9.2% 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: Developments in the balance of travel services: January-September 2017 - Appendix