Summer season bookings to Greece from the United States increased by 42.7%. 2016 1st quarter U.S arrivals up 28.9%, revenues up 28.6%. Four direct flights daily from the U.S.
New York.- (Greek News)
The Greek Tourism Confederation, SETE, is predicting another bumper season for tourist industry, a sector that has long been the single biggest contributor to the economy and job market. According to the “Observer”, arrivals could reach 25 million (27.5 million including cruise ship passengers), which is more than twice the country’s population. Economic recovery will depend on the sector to a great degree.
American tourists are the biggest spenders (along with Russians) according to data provided by the Bank of Greece and their number could grow even bigger than last year’s record of around 800,000.
“Greek News”, a bilingual Greek American weekly newspaper launched last week its seventh campaign, asking Greek Americans and philhellenes to visit Greece this summer and meet the challenge of over one million U.S. visitors.
A European travel guidance issues by the U.S. Department of State seems to have affected only cities affected by acts of terror, such as Paris, Istanbul and Brussels, while Dublin, Athens and Rome enjoy a huge increase, according to an analysis of flight bookings by leading travel insurance provider Allianz Global Assistance.
Allianz Global Assistance reviewed more than 500,000 Americans’ travel plans during the summer vacation season from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and found the number of travelers booked to visit Istanbul are down by 43.7 percent in 2016 compared to the same period last year, while the number of travelers visiting Brussels are down 30.4 percent. Neighboring Germany saw travelers from the U.S. to Frankfurt down by 22.9 percent. Paris, meanwhile, was more resilient with a 0.6 percent increase in summer visitors from the U.S., helping it maintain its spot as the second-most visited city in Europe by American travelers behind London.
While some major cities saw a significant decrease in U.S. travelers visiting during the upcoming summer, Europe as a whole recorded an overall 9.3 percent increase to 515,676 travelers in 2016 compared to 471,823 in 2015.
The cities that benefited most from the redistribution of American travelers still interested in visiting Europe include: Dublin and Shannon, in Ireland, increased by 42.8 and 46.5 percent respectively; Athens, Greece, increased by 42.7 percent; Lisbon, Portugal, increased by 42.3 percent, and Amsterdam, Netherlands, increased by 34.5 percent.
“What we’re seeing is that Americans are still bullish on Europe, and travel to the continent is going to be resilient as tourists seek safety in traditionally popular destinations like London and Rome, as well as increasingly popular cities like Dublin, Amsterdam and Lisbon,” said Daniel Durazo, director of communications at Allianz Global Assistance USA. “We’re pleased to see that summer travel to Europe will still be strong despite recent acts of terror on European soil. We’re seeing many travelers purchasing travel insurance so that they have the option to cancel or interrupt their trip should there be a terrorist event at their destination within 30 days of their arrival.”
Based on provisional data by the Bank of Greece, US arrivals to Greece increased by 28.9%, and receipts by 28,6% from January to March 2016.
The balance of travel services showed a surplus of €62 million in March 2016, compared with a surplus of €64 million in March 2015. More specifically, travel receipts rose by 8.2% to €221 million in March 2016, from €204 million in the same month of 2015. Travel payments also increased, by 13.7% (March 2016: €159 million, March 2015: €139 million). Higher travel receipts resulted from an increase of 2.5% in arrivals and a rise of 5.6% in average expenditure per trip. Net receipts from travel services offset 4.1% of the goods deficit and accounted for 18.1% of total net receipts from services.
In January-March 2016, the balance of travel services showed a surplus of €90 million, up 13.7% from a surplus of €80 million in the same period of 2015. This development is attributed to a larger fall in travel payments (down €12 million or 2.6%) than in travel receipts (down €1 million or 0.1%). Slightly lower travel receipts were mainly due to a decrease of 6.2% in arrivals, as average expenditure per trip rose by 6.5%. Net receipts from travel services offset 2.2% of the goods deficit and accounted for 12.4% of total net receipts from services.
In March 2016, as mentioned previously, travel receipts rose by 8.2% year-on-year. Looking at the breakdown by visitor’s country of origin, receipts from residents of the EU28 increased by 7.2% (March 2016: €110 million, March 2015: €103 million) and those from outside the EU28 by 9.5% (March 2016: €104 million, March 2015: €95 million). Higher receipts from within the EU28 resulted from a rise of €13 million or 29.7% in receipts from residents of non-euro area EU28 countries, as receipts from euro area residents fell by 9.6% (March 2016: €53 million, March 2015: €59 million). Among major countries of origin, receipts from Germany fell by 15.2% to €19 million, while those from France increased by 27.9% to €7 million. Receipts from the United Kingdom also increased, by 40.0% to €25 million. Turning to non-EU28 countries, receipts from Russia rose by 179.5% to €8 million and those from the United States increased by 18.8% to €24 million.
In January-March 2016, travel receipts fell slightly by 0.1% year-on-year to €515 million. This development is attributed to lower receipts from within the EU28 (down 5.4% to €258 million), as receipts from outside the EU28 rose by 6.0% to €247 million. In particular, receipts from euro area residents fell by 6.9% to €144 million and receipts from residents of non-euro area EU28 countries dropped by 3.4% to €115 million. Specifically, receipts from Germany rose by 0.4% to €50 million and those from France by 1.1% to €14 million. Receipts from the United Kingdom also increased, by 5.5% to €49 million. Turning to non-EU28 countries, receipts from Russia increased by 44.0% to €12 million and those from the United States rose by 28.6% to €40 million.
The number of inbound visitors in March 2016 rose by 2.5% year-on-year to 629 thousand. This development reflected a 1.9% increase in arrivals from within the EU28, as well as a 3.4% rise in arrivals from outside the EU28. In greater detail, arrivals from the euro area increased by 5.7% to 139 thousand, whereas arrivals from the non-euro area EU28 countries fell slightly by 0.3% (March 2016: 224 thousand, March 2015: 225 thousand). Specifically, arrivals from Germany rose by 14.5% to 48 thousand and those from France by 28.8% to 17 thousand. Arrivals from the United Kingdom also increased, by 37.3% to 48 thousand. Turning to non-EU28 countries, arrivals from Russia increased by 523.6% to 10 thousand and those from the United States rose by 34.6% to 33 thousand.
In January-March 2016, the number of inbound visitors decreased by 6.2% to 1,621 thousand, from 1,728 thousand in the same period of 2015. In the period under review, arrivals from within the EU28 fell by 9.3% year-on-year to 926 thousand and arrivals from outside the EU28 dropped by 1.8% to 695 thousand. Arrivals from the euro area rose by 2.5%, whereas those from the non-euro area EU28 countries fell by 15.7%. Specifically, arrivals from Germany rose by 5.5% to 118 thousand and those from France by 11.8% to 40 thousand. Arrivals from the United Kingdom also increased, by 6.3% to 107 thousand. Finally, turning to non-EU28 countries, arrivals from Russia rose by 134.9% to 20 thousand and those from the United States increased by 28.9% to 62 thousand.
A story from Athens signed by Observer’s (Guardian) correspondent Helena Smith, reports that worries about Turkey and north Africa caused rising visitor numbers to Greece, a welcome event for the country’s tourist sector that provides a fifth of all jobs. Athens alone is expecting to see 4.5 million visitors this year.
Nine hotels are being built or restored around the city centre this year and their arrival correlates with the huge upturn in holidaymakers visiting the Greek capital since a low point in late 2008, when Athens erupted into riots after the police killing of a teenage boy.
“It’s a miracle, what’s been happening in Athens,” Greece’s tourism chief, Andreas Andreadis, told the Observer. “The tourist industry in Greece grew two to three times faster than in Spain, Portugal, Italy or France last year. This year we expect around 4.5 million visitors in Athens alone.”
For an economy stuck in depression-era recession, dependent on emergency bails and seemingly locked in a perpetual fiscal vice, tourism is vital. A record 23.5 million holidaymakers visited Greece in 2015 – generating €14.2bn in direct receipts, or 24% of gross domestic product. In 2010, at the start of the country’s debt crisis – which has seen it struggle to avert default and remain in the euro – revenues from tourism were €10bn, or 15% of GDP.
According to the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE), Sete, Arrivals could reach 25 million (27.5 million including cruise ship passengers).
Andreadis told the “Observer”: “If we get 1.5 million more visitors it will produce an additional €800m in direct receipts. Such a positive kick that would come in the third and fourth quarters.”
Much of the upsurge is linked to Greece’s safety record. Tourists are staying away from resort in Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey and elsewhere in the wake of high-profile attacks. Countries whose economies are also dependent on holidaymakers have suffered incalculable damage following a severe drop in arrivals. Travel advice from governments and fears of fresh violence are simply keeping tourists away.
But other countries’ loss could be Greece’s gain. And it could not come at a better time: tourism provides one in five jobs in Greece, at a time when unemployment in the effectively bankrupt nation has hovered stubbornly around 25%. Youth unemployment stands at an astonishing 67%.
“It’s going to be a challenge but our hope is that we will see an improvement on record numbers again,” said Yiannis Retsos, president of the Hellenic Federation of Hoteliers. “Tourism is all about positive psychology and Greece is a safe place in the south-east Mediterranean region.”
United Airlines has launched a new route between New York/Newark and Athens with direct flights on a daily basis, from May 26 to October 6, 2016.
The daily nonstop service between Newark Liberty International Airport and Athens International Airport operates using the Boeing 767-300 aircraft with a total of 214 seats – 30 flat-bed seats in United BusinessFirst and 184 seats in United Economy, including 49 Economy Plus seats with added legroom and increased personal space
United Airlines flight UA124 departs from Newark Liberty International Airport at 5:40 pm and arrive in Athens at 10:40 am the next morning, local time. The return flight UA125 leaves the Greek capital at 12.30 pm, arriving in Newark at 4:30 pm the same day, local time. Flight times will be 9 hours 50 minutes eastbound and 11 hours westbound.