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Travel services 2015: revenues +6.6%

15/01/2016 Economy , Top Stories
Travel services 2015: revenues +6.6%

The Bank of Greece announced that the surplus of the balance of travel services was €11,269 million in January-September 2015, up 7.7% from a surplus of €10,464 million in January-September 2014

Based on the final data from the Bank of Greece, the surplus of the balance of travel services was €11,269 million in January-September 2015, up 7.7% from a surplus of €10,464 million in January-September 2014, as travel receipts increased by €787 million or 6.6% year-on-year and travel payments decreased by €18 million or 1.2%. Higher travel receipts in January-September 2015 were mainly driven by an increase of 9.1% in non-resident arrivals, as the average expenditure per trip decreased by €13 or 2.3% to €566.

Specifically, expenditure per stay increased by 4.2% (January-September 2015: €75, January-September 2014: €72), while the average length of stay declined by 6.2% year-on-year to 7.5 nights. This development reflected significant increases in arrivals from certain non-euro area and neighbouring countries that are associated with below-average length of stay. In January-September 2015, overnight stays increased by 2.3% to 170,063 thousand.

Travel receipts

In January-September 2015, travel receipts totalled €12,788 million, rising by 6.6% year-on-year. This development was primarily due to the fact that receipts from residents of the EU28 increased by 16.7% to €8,632 million, accounting for 67.5% of total travel receipts, while receipts from outside the EU28 decreased by 11.7% to €3,789 million.

In particular, receipts from euro area residents increased by 12.6% to €5,499 million and receipts from residents of non-euro area countries of the EU28 rose by 24.6% to €3,133 million.

Among major countries of origin, receipts from Germany rose by 16.0% to €2,007 million, those from France by 7.2% to €1,113 million and those from the United Kingdom by 33.7% to €1,868 million. Turning to non-EU28 countries, receipts from Russia fell by 64.8% to €389 million, while those from the United States increased by 47.4% to €856 million.

Travel receipts by trip purpose

Looking at the breakdown of non-resident expenditure in Greece by purpose of trip, trips for personal reasons represented the bulk of receipts in January-September 2015, with a share of 95.3% in total expenditure, up from 94.8% in the same period of 2014. Within this category, leisure accounted for the largest share of total expenditure (January-September 2015: 85.6%, January-September 2014: 85.7%), while trips for the purpose of visiting family had a share of 3.5% and showed a rise of 6.8% year-on-year in the corresponding receipts. The 7.0% increase in receipts from trips for personal reasons mainly reflected an increase of €664 million or 6.5% in receipts from leisure trips. Receipts from health trips also rose, by 48.2% to €31 million. Finally, receipts from business trips decreased by 2.1% and their share in total receipts declined (January-September 2015: 4.7%, January-September 2014: 5.2%).

Inbound traveller flows

As already mentioned, the number of inbound visitors rose by 9.1% to 22,596 thousand in January-September 2015 from 20,718 thousand one year earlier. Of this total, 58.1% was accounted for by arrivals from the EU28 and 33.2% by arrivals from outside the EU28 (1). In the period under review, arrivals from within the EU28 increased by 17.1% year-on-year, as arrivals from non-euro area EU28 countries increased by 24.3% to 5,945 thousand and those from the euro area by 11.7% to 7,176 thousand. Arrivals from non-EU28 countries decreased by 3.7% to 7,497 thousand.

In particular, arrivals from Germany and France rose by 17.8% and 2.0%, respectively. Arrivals from the United Kingdom increased by 17.5% to 2,124 thousand. Finally, turning to non-EU28 countries, arrivals from Russia fell by 62.1% to 441 thousand, while those from the United States increased by 35.3% to 659 thousand.

Overnight stays 

In January-September 2015, overnight stays in Greece were 170,063 thousand, up 2.3% from 166,232 thousand in the same period of 2014. This reflected an increase of 11.1% in stays by residents of the EU28, as stays by residents of non-EU28 countries fell by 16.5%. Higher stays by residents of the EU28 resulted from a rise of 19.3% in stays by residents of non-euro area EU28 countries and an increase of 6.6% in stays by residents of the euro area. Stays by German residents increased by 6.4% and those by French and UK residents by 0.3% and 20.6%, respectively. Turning to non-EU28 countries, stays by Russian residents dropped by 59.9%, while those by US residents rose by 28.6%.


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-September 2015 from 16 Greek ports, covering 84.6% of all cruise ship arrivals.

In January-September 2015, 3,544 cruise ship arrivals (January-September 2014: 3,118) and 4,137 thousand cruise passenger visits (January-June 2014: 3,947 thousand) were recorded. It should be noted that a breakdown by country of origin is not at present available for the Cruise Survey data. This survey revealed that 89.9% of all cruise passengers were transit visitors, with an average of 2.0 stopovers at Greek ports of call, virtually unchanged from January-September 2014.

In January-September 2015, total receipts from cruise passengers rose by 13.6% year-on-year to €419 million. Of this amount, €52.7 million was included in Border Survey data (4), as it represented receipts from visitors leaving the country through Greek last ports, while the remaining €366.6 million represented additional receipts data recorded by the Cruise Survey.

Receipts by port

Chart 7 shows a breakdown of cruise receipts by port. With a share of 45.2% in total cruise receipts, the port of Piraeus ranks first in terms of cruise receipts, followed by the port of Corfu with 12.6% and the port of Santorini with 9.5%. The seven most important cruise ship ports account for 88.0% of total cruise receipts and 82.8% of total cruise passenger arrivals.

In the period under review, the total number of cruise visitors increased by 12.2% year-on-year to an estimated 2,084 thousand, while overnight stays off the cruise ship rose by 21.9% to 3,615 thousand, exerting a positive impact on cruise receipts.

Related linkDevelopments in the balance of travel services: January – September 2015 – Appendix


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