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Developments in the balance of travel services: September 2020

23/11/2020 - Press Releases

Balance of travel services

Based on provisional data, the balance of travel services in September 2020 showed a surplus of €777 million, compared with a surplus of €2,672 million in September 2019. More specifically, travel receipts in September 2020 fell by 71.4% to €826 million, from €2,886 million in September 2019, while travel payments also decreased by 77.1% (September 2020: €49 million, September 2019: €214 million). The fall in travel receipts resulted from a 73.9% decline in inbound traveller flows, as average expenditure per trip rose by 12.1%. Net receipts from travel services offset 52.1% of the goods deficit and accounted for 72.8% of total net receipts from services.

In January-September 2020,[1] the balance of travel services showed a surplus of €2,868 million, down from a surplus of €14,095 million in the same period of 2019. Travel receipts fell by €12,598 million or 78.2% to €3,509 million, while travel payments also decreased, by €1,371 million or 68.1% to €641 million. The drop in travel receipts stemmed from a 2.2% fall in average expenditure per trip and a 77.2% decrease in inbound traveller flows. Net receipts from travel services offset 20.3% of the goods deficit and accounted for 50.8% of total net receipts from services.

 

Travel receipts 

In September 2020, as mentioned previously, travel receipts declined by 71.4% year-on-year. In more detail, receipts from residents of EU27 countries fell by 63.9% to €572 million, while receipts from outside the EU27 decreased by 79.5% (September 2020: €254 million, September 2019: €1,237 million). The lower receipts from within the EU27 were due to decreases in receipts from euro area residents by 59.6% to €493 million (September 2019: €1,220 million) and in receipts from residents of non-euro area EU27 countries by 78.3% to €79 million. Among major countries of origin, receipts from Germany fell by 52.1% to €255 million and receipts from France decreased by 54.3% to €77 million. Turning to non-EU27 countries, receipts from the United Kingdom fell by 57.8% to €192 million, while receipts from the United States decreased by 98.7% to €3 million. Receipts from Russia also decreased, by 99.1% to €1 million.

In January-September 2020, travel receipts totalled €3,509 million, down by 78.2% relative to the same period of 2019. This development was driven by a 73.4% decline in receipts from residents of EU27 countries, which came to €2,321 million, and by an 83.0% drop in receipts from residents of non-EU27 countries to €1,186 million. In particular, receipts from euro area residents decreased by 72.4% to €1,903 million, while receipts from residents of non-euro area EU27 countries fell by 77.4% to €418 million. Specifically, receipts from Germany dropped by 69.4% to €785 million and receipts from France fell by 68.9% to €310 million. Turning to non-EU27 countries, receipts from the United Kingdom dropped by 73.9% to €619 million and receipts from the United States decreased by 92.9% to €72 million. Receipts from Russia also decreased, by 96.9% to €12 million.

 

Inbound traveller flows[2]

The number of inbound visitors in September 2020 fell by 73.9% year-on-year to 1,335 thousand. Specifically, visitor flows through airports declined by 63.3% and visitor flows through road border-crossing points fell by 95.1%. This overall decrease was due to lower visitor flows from both within the EU27 (down 70.2%) and outside the EU27 (down 79.9%). In greater detail, the number of visitors from within the euro area fell by 54.7% to 767 thousand, while visitors from non-euro area EU27 countries fell by 87.9% (September 2020: 179 thousand, September 2019: 1,483 thousand). Specifically, the number of visitors from Germany decreased by 42.3% to 377 thousand, while visitors from France also fell by 51.8% to 113 thousand. Turning to non-EU27 countries, the number of visitors from the United Kingdom fell by 54.3% to 300 thousand, while visitors from the United States dropped by 98.0% to 4 thousand and visitors from Russia decreased by 99.0% to 1 thousand.

In January-September 2020, the number of inbound visitors fell by 77.2% to 6,147 thousand (January-September 2019: 26,953 thousand). Specifically, visitor flows through airports declined by 74.5% and visitor flows through road border-crossing points fell by 82.9%. In the period under review, visitors from within the EU27 dropped by 74.6% year-on-year to 4,088 thousand, while visitors from outside the EU27 decreased by 81.0% to 2,059 thousand. The number of visitors from within the euro area fell by 70.7%, while visitors from non-euro area EU27 countries dropped by 80.2%. Specifically, the number of visitors from Germany fell by 66.7% to 1,103 thousand, while visitors from France decreased by 72.2% to 385 thousand. Turning to non-EU27 countries, the number of visitors from the United Kingdom fell by 73.7% to 828 thousand, while visitors from the United States dropped by 90.2% to 97 thousand and visitors from Russia decreased by 95.1% to 23 thousand.

 

Note: The next Press Release on “Developments in the balance of travel services” for October 2020 will be published on 22 December 2020.

 

Methodological Note

Special travel conditions and behaviours induced by the global impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the associated movement restrictions caused the Border Survey to be suspended from 15 March to 1 July.

In order to ensure data comparability over time, the Bank of Greece has adopted the following approach:

1.         For each border-crossing point, inbound and outbound flows were broken down, percentagewise, into periods 1-15 March and 16 March-30 June.

2.         Data collected for the period 1-15 March were checked, processed and analysed using the standardised methodology.

3.         For the period 16 March-30 June, extrapolation factors were estimated for main traveller flows per type of border-crossing point, using detailed data on official flows at border-crossing points and historical data on traveller flow distribution by month and border-crossing point.           

As of July 2020, conduct of the Border Survey has fully resumed.



 

[1] See the Methodological Note at the end of this Press Release.

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

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