BUSINESS

Tourism growth in Greece lost steam last year

STATHIS KOUSOUNIS

TAGS: Tourism

The growth in Greek tourism in terms of arrivals from abroad, travel receipts and the number of nights spent in the country eased last year compared to 2013 and 2014, according to figures released on Thursday by the Bank of Greece.

Tourism takings amounted to 14.12 billion euros last year, posting a 5.5 percent increase from 2014, when the rise had amounted to 10.2 percent. In 2013, the growth had come to 16.4 percent.

The number of tourists who came from abroad climbed 7.6 percent year-on-year, reaching 26.1 million, against a rise of 20.7 percent in 2014 and 18.7 percent in 2014. The number of nights spent in Greece by tourists expanded just 0.6 percent in 2015, against 14.7 percent and 14.4 percent in 2014 and 2013 respectively.

Average spending per trip and the average length of time spent in Greece continued to drop. Spending per trip shrank 2 percent from 2014 to 540.90 euros, while the average time spent in the country fell 6.5 percent year-on-year to 7.2 nights. In contrast, there was a significant increase in the amount of money spent on average per night spent in Greece, which rose 4.9 percent to 75.1 euros per night.

The cruise sector had a particularly good year in 2015, as takings increased 10.2 percent from 2014 to exceed 500 million euros, passenger numbers expanded 9.9 percent to 2.63 million and nights spent onshore rose 14.4 percent to exceed 4 million.

The lower growth rates in the sector reflect the difficulties tourism faced in 2015 due to the political and economic problems in the country. This year, taking into account the security issues that rival destinations are facing, there are the makings of another healthy year of growth. However, there also are certain matters that could undermine that, such as how refugee issue is managed, high taxes, and the delay in the completion of the bailout review, among others.

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