BUSINESS

Major drop in tourists’ expenditure

ILIAS BELLOS

TAGS: Tourism

The large inflow of tourists from the Balkans and Eastern Europe in the last 15 years and the absence of an integrated strategic plan to attract higher-income visitors have led to a 30 percent decline in the per capita spending of holidaymakers in Greece over the last few years, according to figures compiled by the Institute of the Greek Tourism Confederation (INSETE). That decline is partly due to the reduction in the average stay by at least one day.

Last year the average per capital expenditure of visitors to Greece amounted to 519.6 euros: Compared to 2005, when average spending was 745.7 euros per trip, expenditure was down 226.1 euros or 30.3 percent.

Almost two-thirds of that reduction (63.2 percent or 143 euros) is attributed to the shortening of the average stay, and 29 percent, or 65.5 euros, to the change in the mix of markets that comprise Greek tourism (i.e. to the fact that Greece now has more visitors from countries with lower disposable incomes).

Considering that 100 euros buys less in 2018 than it did in 2005, due to inflation, the actual reduction of tourists’ spending is even greater.

In Spain, a country with a similar tourist profile, the average daily spending of visitors amounts to 600 euros (adjusted by INSETE for comparison purposes). The difference between Greece and Spain grew significantly from 2016 to 2018. These figures do not include the cost of traveling to the destination country.

INSETE’s general director Ilias Kikilias says that in order to increase tourists’ per capital spending, Greece requires “the creation of a more sophisticated product with higher-quality features that would upgrade the overall experience of the visitor and concern all links of the value chain that make up the tourism product.”

To that end, the country needs “a more efficient management of destinations with specific strategic planning, merging of forces and broader cooperation on a central and local level, along with the modernization of infrastructure for energy sufficiency, cleanliness, policing, healthcare etc so as to cover the requirements of the tourists as well as the inhabitants of this country,” Kikilias added.

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