Inbound visitors rose 1.7 pct in the January-September period totaling 28.7 million from 28.3 million in the same period in 2018, the Bank of Greece said on Thursday.
The central bank, in a report said that based on final data, the balance of travel services in January-September 2019 posted a surplus of 14,095 million euros, up 12.7 pct from a surplus of 12,507 million in January-September 2018. This development was due to the stronger increase in travel receipts (up 1,995 million euros or 14.1 pct) than in travel payments (up 407 million or 25.3 pct). The rise in travel receipts in January-September 2019 compared with the same period of 2018 was driven by a rise in average expenditure per trip by 61 euros or 12.3 pct (January-September 2019: 559, January-September 2018: 498), as well as by an 1.7 pct increase in the number of non-resident inbound visitors.
Specifically, expenditure per overnight stay rose by 10.7 pct (January-September 2019: 77 euros, January-September 2018: 70), while the average length of stay increased by 1.5 pct year-on-year to 73 nights. Τotal overnight stays rose by 3.1 pct to 209,349 thousand in January-September 2019, from 202,974 thousand in January-September 2018.
In January-September 2019, travel receipts totalled 16,107 million euros, up by 14.1 pct relative to the same period of 2018. This development was driven by a 12.8 pct increase in receipts from residents of the EU28, which came to 11,100 million euros or 68.9 pct of total travel receipts, and by a 17.8 pct rise in receipts from residents outside the EU28 to 4,625 million. In particular, receipts from euro area residents increased by 9.3 pct year-on-year to 6,883 million euros, while receipts from residents of non-euro area EU28 countries increased by 19.0 pct to 4,217 million. Among major countries of origin, receipts from Germany fell by 0.9 pct to 2,565 million euros, whereas receipts from France increased by 18.4 pct to 997 million. Receipts from the United Kingdom also increased, by 35.8 pct to 2,367 million euros. Turning to non-EU28 countries, receipts from the United States rose by 22.8 pct to 1,011 million euros, while receipts from Russia increased by 21.3 pct to 373 million.
Looking at the breakdown of non-resident expenditure in Greece by trip purpose, trips for personal reasons represented the bulk of receipts in January-September 2019, with a share of 95.7 pct in total expenditure, up from 95.4 pct in the same period of 2018, while the corresponding receipts increased by 14.5 pct.
In January-September 2019, overnight stays in Greece totalled 209,349 thousand, up by 3.1 pct from 202,974 thousand in January-September 2018.
Since 2012, the Bank of Greece conducts a Cruise Survey in order to enrich the data collected through its Border Survey. Following a standardised methodology, detailed cruise data for the period January-September 2019 were collected at 16 Greek ports, covering 83.8 pct of all cruise ship arrivals in Greece. The period under review saw 2,972 cruise ship arrivals (January-September 2018: 2,562) and 4,106 thousand cruise passenger visits (January-September 2018: 3,781 thousand). According to the Cruise Survey, 89.7 pct of all cruise passengers were transit visitors, with an average of 2.1 stopovers at Greek ports of call (up from 1.5 stopovers in January-September 2018). Total receipts from cruise passengers in January-September 2019 rose by 10.9 pct year-on-year to 426 million euros.
Athens vies for best destination
Athens is among the 20 nominees for Europe’s best destination in 2020, being voted on by users of the website European Best Destinations in association with the continent’s largest travel agencies.
The Greek capital, described by the website as an open-air museum, faces stiff competition from popular cities including Madrid, Paris, Berlin and Rome. The voting began on January 15 and will remain open until February 5.
Last year’s winner of the competition, developed to promote culture and tourism in Europe, was Budapest, which garnered a total of 500,000 votes, while second and third place went to Braga in Portugal and Monte Isola in Italy respectively.