The amount spent by visitors to Greece dropped to its lowest level in at least 15 years in 2016, according to figures released this week by the Bank of Greece.
Data showed that average spending per trip in 2016 fell 11.3 percent year-on-year to 514.30 euros, against 579.60 in 2015. A year-on-year decline of 9.4 percent was recorded in December 2016, taking average expenditure to 338.50 euros per trip that month.
The declining trajectory in the average amount that visitors parted with in this country throughout last year reflects the extent of the low-budget tourism Greece attracted. In contrast, Spain posted a 5.3 percent annual increase to 1,131 euros per trip.
Consequently Greece’s tourism takings were down 6.4 percent from 2015, amounting to 13.22 billion euros. The travel surplus (tourism revenues minus the expenditure of Greek tourists abroad) showed a 7.3 percent year-on-year drop to 11.21 billion euros from 12.09 billion in 2015.
The central bank’s figures further show that revenues from French visitors declined by 300.1 million euros, or 25.1 percent, in 2016 from the year before, from US tourists by 214.9 million or 22.8 percent, from German travelers by 93.1 million or 4.1 percent, and from Britons by 58.6 million or 2.9 percent. Revenues from Russian visitors increased by 14.5 million euros or 3.4 percent.
The number of arrivals from abroad (not including cruise passengers) came to 24.8 million, posting a 5.1 percent increase from 23.6 million in 2015. Arrivals from Britain rose by 20.8 percent to 2.89 million, from Russia by 16.1 percent to just over 595,000, from Germany by 11.7 percent to 3.14 million and from the US by 3.8 percent to more than 778,000. Arrivals from France fell by 13.7 percent to 1.31 million.
Local tourism association representatives hope that this year will see a reversal of last year’s negative results in terms of the industry’s revenues. Turkey remains off the list of popular destinations for most tourists for security reasons, while Spain reached its peak last year in terms of both arrivals and occupancy rates. In this environment, major European tour operators have turned their focus on Greece as well as other markets such as Croatia, Bulgaria etc, seeking opportunities to increase their sales and profits.