Developments in the Balance of Travel Services: January - March 2015
09/07/2015 - Press Releases
Balance of travel services
Based on the final data, the surplus of the balance of travel services was €80 million in January-March 2015, up 41.0% from €56 million in January-March 2014. This development was primarily due to an increase of €45 million or 9.5% in travel receipts, which was, however, partly offset by an increase of €22 million or 5.2% in travel payments. The year-on-year rise in travel receipts in January-March 2015 was mainly driven by an increase of 42.3% in non-resident arrivals, as the average expenditure per trip decreased by €86 or 23.1% to €288.
Specifically, expenditure per stay dropped by 8.3% (January-March 2015: €56, January-March 2014: €61), while the average length of stay also decreased, by 16.2% year-on-year to 5.2 nights. These negative developments reflected a significant increase in arrivals from non-euro area countries, which are associated with below-average length of stay and expenditure per stay. In January-March 2015, overnight stays increased by 19.3% to 9,263 thousand.
In January-March 2015, travel receipts totalled €516 million, rising by 9.5% year-on-year. This development was primarily due to the fact that receipts from residents of the EU28 increased by 18.8% to €273 million, accounting for 52.9% of total travel receipts, while receipts from outside the EU28 rose by 2.2% to €233 million.
In particular, receipts from euro area residents increased by 8.7% to €154 million, while receipts from residents of non-euro area countries of the EU28 rose by 35.0% to €119 million.
A breakdown of receipts by visitor’s country of origin shows that receipts from Germany rose by 19.7% to €49 million, those from France by 37.4% to €14 million and those from the United Kingdom by 39.0% to €47 million. Among non-EU28 countries, receipts from Russia fell by 58.2% to €8 million, while those from the United States increased by 17.7% to €31 million.
Travel receipts by trip purpose
Looking at the breakdown of non-resident expenditure in Greece by purpose of trip, the bulk of receipts in January-March 2015 came from trips for personal reasons, which accounted for 78.5% of total expenditure, up from 71.1% in the same period of 2014. Within this category, leisure accounted for the largest share of total expenditure (January-March 2015: 46.1%, January-March 2014: 35.4%), while visiting family accounted for 14.5%, with the corresponding expenditure rising by 10.2% year-on-year. The 20.9% increase in receipts from trips for personal reasons mainly reflected an increase of €71 million or 42.5% in receipts from leisure trips. Moreover, receipts from health trips rose by 103.8% to €11 million. Finally, receipts from business trips fell by 18.7%, leading to a decline in their share in total receipts (January-March 2015: 21.5%, January-March 2014: 28.9%).
Inbound traveller flows
As already mentioned, the number of inbound visitors rose by 42.3% to 1,793 thousand in January-March 2015, compared with 1,260 thousand one year earlier. Of this, 56.9% was accounted for by arrivals from the EU28 and 39.5% by arrivals from outside the EU28 (1). In the period under review, arrivals from within the EU28 increased by 70.6% year-on-year. This development is attributed to higher arrivals primarily from non-euro area EU28 countries (up 105.7% to 662 thousand) and, to a lesser degree, from the euro area (up 29.7% to 359 thousand). Arrivals from non-EU countries also increased, by 20.3%.
In particular, arrivals from Germany and France rose by 35.9% and 94.2%, respectively. Arrivals from the United Kingdom increased by 37.7% to 101 thousand. Finally, turning to non-EU28 countries, arrivals from Russia fell by 66.9% to 9 thousand, while those from the United States rose by 49.7% to 48 thousand.
Overnight stays (2)
In January-March 2015, stays in Greece were 9,263 thousand, up 19.3% from 7,763 thousand in the same period of 2014. This is attributed primarily to an increase of 29.0% in stays by residents of the EU28, and, to a lesser extent, to a rise of 4.0% in stays by residents of non-EU28 countries. Higher stays by residents of the EU28 resulted from a rise of 66.6% in stays by residents of non-euro area EU28 countries and an increase of 5.7% in stays by residents of the euro area. Stays by German residents increased by 21.9%, and those by French and UK residents by 20.5% and 15.5%, respectively. Turning to non-EU28 countries, stays by Russian residents dropped by 36.5%, while those by US residents rose by 28.1%.
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 January-March 2015 from 16 Greek ports, covering 87.4% of all cruise ship arrivals.
In January-March 2015, 119 cruise ship arrivals (January-March 2014: 91) and 124 thousand cruise passenger visits (January-March 2014: 111 thousand) were recorded. It should be noted that a breakdown by country of origin is not available for the Cruise Survey data. This survey revealed that 93.0% of all cruise passengers were transit visitors, with an average of 1.9 stopovers at Greek ports of call, compared with an average of 1.5 in January-March 2014.
In January-March 2015, total receipts from cruise passengers fell by 30.1% year-on-year to €10.3 million. Of this amount, €0.5 million was included in Border Survey data (4), as it represented receipts from visitors leaving the country through Greek last ports, while the remaining €9.8 million was accounted for by additional receipts recorded in the Cruise Survey.
Chart 7 shows a breakdown of cruise receipts by port. With a share of 50.8% in total cruise receipts, the port of Piraeus ranks first in terms of cruise receipts, followed by the port of Heraklion with 11.2%, and the port of Katakolon with 9.8%. The seven most important cruise ship ports account for 90.1% of all cruise receipts and 86.2% of all cruise passenger arrivals.
In the period under review, the total number of cruise visitors fell by 13.3% year-on- year to an estimated 66 thousand, while overnight stays off the cruise ship decreased by 38.6% to an estimated 69 thousand. It should be noted that the decline in visitor and overnight stay numbers had a negative impact on cruise receipts, even as cruise ship arrivals trended upwards.
(1) The remaining 3.6% 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 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/gateway (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“; (b) 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, respectively, is not fully comparable with that of subsequent years.
Realated link: Developments in the Balance of Travel Services: January - March 2015 - Appendix