Tourism has seen its revenues soar this year, driven mainly by spending by German visitors, the latest Bank of Greece figures reveal.
Travel receipts grew 17 percent in the first seven months of 2018 compared to the same period in 2017, reaching 8.23 billion euros. This rise was the result of incoming tourism traffic rising by 14.6 percent year-on-year and, to a lesser extent, average spending per trip increasing by 14 euros or 2.7 percent. Visitor numbers amounted to 14.995 million against 13.082 million in January-July 2017.
This July incoming traffic amounted to 5.54 million travelers, up 7.7 percent on a yearly basis, while receipts rose 14.4 percent to 3.3 billion euros, of which 495 million came from Germany. The German market contributed 1.467 billion euros in the first seven months of the year, or 17.8 percent of the total.
These significantly improved receipt figures offset the goods and services deficit by 60 percent and contributed 74.4 percent to the sum of net receipts for services. Therefore the travel surplus reached 6.98 billion euros in the January-July period, against 5.92 billion in 2017. This was thanks to the rise by 1.2 billion euros, or 17 percent, in travel receipts, at a time when the current account deficit stood at 2.2 billion euros.
Receipts from German visitors grew a remarkable 35.2 percent in the year to end-July, while receipts from the French market were up 2.7 percent to 465 million euros and those from the British market by a marginal 1.2 percent to 1.05 billion euros. The US market also recorded significant annual growth of 27 percent, totaling 503 million euros, more than offsetting the 18.2 percent decline in spending by Russian tourists, which came to 197 million euros.
Arrivals figures show a clear shift in balance of markets from East to West for Greek tourism: Bank of Greece data revealed a 36.5 percent yearly increase in German tourists to 2.133 million, and a 34.8 expansion in US visitor numbers to 560,000. There were 10.1 percent more French arrivals (756,000) and a 2.5 percent increase in travelers from Great Britain. At the same time the number of Russian tourists declined by 11.5 percent to 277,000.