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Developments in the balance of travel services: December 2019

21/02/2020 - Press Releases

Balance of travel services

Based on provisional data, the balance of travel services showed a surplus of €43 million in December 2019, compared with a surplus of €23 million in December 2018. More specifically, travel receipts in December 2019 rose by 6,1% to €289 million, from €272 million in December 2018, whereas travel payments fell by 1.2% (December 2019: €246 million, December 2018: €249 million). The rise in travel receipts was due to a 5.4% year-on-year increase in inbound traveller flows, as well as to a rise of 0.7% in average expenditure per trip. Net receipts from travel services accounted for 8.4% of total net receipts from services and offset 2.6% of the goods deficit.

In 2019, the balance of travel services showed a surplus of €15,416 million, compared with a surplus of €13,895 million in 2018. This development is attributed to an increase, by 12.8% or €2,066 million, in travel receipts, which were only partly offset by travel payments, up by 24.9% or €545 million. The rise in travel receipts was driven by an 8.5% rise in average expenditure per trip and by a 4.1% increase in inbound traveller flows. Net receipts from travel services offset 67.5% of the goods deficit and accounted for 73.1% of total net receipts from services.

Travel receipts

In December 2019, as mentioned previously, travel receipts rose by 6.1% year-on-year. In more detail, receipts from residents of the EU28 rose by 3.6% to €130 million and receipts from outside the EU28 increased by 8.3% (December 2019: €156 million, December 2018: €144 million). The higher receipts from within the EU28 were driven by a 26.2% increase in receipts from euro area residents to €98 million, as receipts from residents of non-euro area EU28 countries dropped by 33.2% to €32 million (December 2018: €48 million). Among major countries of origin, receipts from Germany decreased by 16.6% to €19 million and receipts from France fell by 24.9% to €5 million. Receipts from the United Kingdom also fell, by 43.1% to €14 million. Turning to non-EU28 countries, receipts from the United States rose by 37.7% to €30 million, while receipts from Russia fell by 1.9% to €7 million.

In 2019, travel receipts totalled €18,152 million, up by 12.8% relative to the previous year. This development was driven by an 11.5% increase in receipts from residents of the EU28, which came to €12,277 million, and by a 16.3% rise in receipts from residents outside the EU28 to €5,400 million. In particular, receipts from euro area residents rose by 8.7% to €7,720 million, while receipts from residents of non-euro area EU28 countries increased by 16.7% to €4,558 million. Specifically, receipts from Germany edged down by 0.2% to €2,956 million, whereas receipts from France rose by 14.5% to €1,092 million. Receipts from the United Kingdom rose by 31.9% to €2,556 million. Turning to non-EU28 countries, receipts from the United States increased by 14.2% to €1,187 million and receipts from Russia also increased, by 27.3% to €434 million.

Inbound traveller flows[1]

The number of inbound visitors in December 2019 stood at 692 thousand, compared with 657 thousand in December 2018. Specifically, visitor flows through airports increased by 14.8%, whereas visitor flows through road border-crossing points declined by 5.2%. This overall increase was driven by higher visitor flows from both within the EU28 (up 4.7%) and outside the EU28 (up 6.0%). In greater detail, the number of visitors from within the euro area rose by 41.6% to 196 thousand, while visitors from the non-euro area EU28 countries fell by 23.5% (December 2019: 138 thousand, December 2018: 181 thousand). Specifically, the number of visitors from Germany rose by 23.0% to 47 thousand, while visitors from France fell by 3.2% to 13 thousand. Visitors from the United Kingdom also fell, by 24.9% to 25 thousand. Turning to non-EU28 countries, visitors from the United States decreased by 12.0% to 29 thousand and visitors from Russia fell by 27.0% to 12 thousand.

In 2019, the number of inbound visitors rose by 4.1% to 31,348 thousand (2018: 30,123 thousand). Specifically, visitor flows through airports increased by 1.6% and visitor flows through road border-crossing points increased by 9.0%. In the period under review, the number of visitors from within the EU28 rose by 3.1% year-on-year to 22,053 thousand and visitors from outside the EU28 increased by 6.5% to 9,295 thousand. Visitors from within the euro area declined by 3.2%, whereas visitors from the non-euro area EU28 countries rose by 10.2%. Specifically, the number of visitors from Germany decreased by 8.1% to 4,026 thousand, while visitors from France increased by 1.2% to 1,542 thousand. Visitors from the United Kingdom also increased, by 18.9% to 3,499 thousand. Finally, turning to non-EU28 countries, the number of visitors from the United States increased by 7.4% to 1,179 thousand, while visitors from Russia rose by 12.1% to 583 thousand.

Notes: The next Press Release on “Developments in the balance of travel services” for January 2020 will be published on 23 March 2020.


[1] Inbound traveller flows exclude cruise passengers (other than those recorded in the Border Survey).

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