According to figures from the Bank of Greece, the balance of travel services as of March 2019 indicated a surplus of €95 million or roughly equal that of the previous year. The good news is, travel receipts in March 2019 rose by 32.2% to €319 million, as travel payments also increased by 53.4%. This rise in receipts shows a 21.9% increase in average expenditure per trip, as well as to a rise of 9.1% in inbound traveler flows. Other figures indicate a shift in touristic flows and growth potential outside the EU28.
January through March of this year, the balance of travel services showed a surplus of €212 million, up from a surplus of €127 million in the same period of 2018. The rise in travel receipts is because of a 27.7% increase in average expenditure per trip, according to the figures from the bank. Also according to the numbers, the biggest increase in tourist expenditures came from visitors outside the EU28. In all, receipts from residents of the EU28 increased by only 9.0% to €157 million, whereas receipts from outside the EU28 rose by 70.3%.
More specifically, receipts from some EU28 nations indicate a slump, which accentuates the expenditures by tourists from outside the bloc. As a for instance, receipts from Germany decreased by 1.4% to €37 million, whereas receipts from France increased by 40.7% to €12 million. Receipts from the United Kingdom also increased, by 60.8% to €32 million. Turning to non-EU28 countries, receipts from the United States rose by 181.9% to €48 million, while receipts from Russia increased by 69.8% to €6 million.
The number of inbound visitors in March 2019 rose by 9.1% year-on-year to 773 thousand. Specifically, visitor flows through airports increased by 18.3%, whereas visitor flows through road border-crossing points declined by 2.0%. This increase inflows was due to higher visitor flows from outside the EU28 (up 28.3%), as visitor flows from within the EU28 decreased by 3.7%. In greater detail, the number of visitors from within the euro area fell by 8.6% to 207 thousand, whereas visitors from the non-euro area EU28 countries increased by 1.8% (March 2019: 202 thousand, March 2018: 199 thousand).
Once again, some EU28 countries slacked off in not only spending but in visitation overall. Specifically, the number of visitors from Germany decreased by 20.8% to 70 thousand, while visitors from France increased by 47.7% to 30 thousand. Visitors from the United Kingdom rose by 22.8% to 51 thousand. Meanwhile, visitors from the United States increased by 66.1% to 60 thousand and visitors from Russia increased by 151.7% to 11 thousand.
This report via Kathimerini English shows US travel agents are once again recommending Greece to their members. For the second year in a row, organizations like the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) are pushing the destination value of Greece. In 2018 touristic flows from America to Greece rose more than 27%, which correlates with the figures from the Bank of Greece. This quote from the article encapsulates the positive potential for Greece:
“The return of the Americans to Greece is considered one of the most encouraging trends in recent years, as visitors from the US have a much higher per capita spending rate than other tourists. Furthermore, thanks to its size, the US market is capable of offsetting any short-term turbulence in the British or the German markets, while it could expand incoming tourism traffic further in the medium term.”
A number of online travel sites have recently put Greece in the top 5 of destinations Americans love to visit, right behind the United States, Italy, the UK, and France. The upward trend is obvious since Greece was the 23rd most popular destination for Americans back in 2016. Clearly, media campaigns by Greece’s Tourism Ministry, ads by individual players, and widespread media coverage have played a positive role.
Some information via Tornos News