By Stathis Kousounis and Nikos Roussanoglou
As the tourism season heats up, it is becoming increasingly clear that 2014 will be a record year for Greece both in terms of arrivals from abroad and tourist revenues.
According to the Association of Hellenic Tourism Enterprises (SETE), average spending per trip will exceed 700 euros this year, compared with 660 euros in 2013 (not including cruise visitors), while the number of arrivals from abroad will reach 19 million and climb to 21.2 million when cruise visitors are added.
SETE expects tourism revenues to grow to 13.5 billion euros this year from 12.2 billion in 2013.
In the first four months of the year arrivals from abroad posted an increase of 21.1 percent compared to the same period last year, exceeding 1.9 million, Bank of Greece data revealed on Monday.
Arrivals grew by a spectacular 30.6 percent year-on-year in April alone, reaching 728,000.
The rate of increase in terms of tourism receipts is even greater than that of arrivals, which also points to an increase in quality as well as quantity for Greece’s biggest industry.
In the year to end-April receipts grew by 27.8 percent from January-April 2013 to reach 900.2 million euros.
In fact April witnessed an unprecedented yearly increase of 35.8 percent in tourism revenues, which climbed to 411.1 million euros.
This revenue rise comes not only as a result of the rise in arrivals but also the 6.2 percent rise in spending per trip, Bank of Greece data showed.
Britons raised their spending the most, as they were found to have forked out 50.5 percent more this year during their trips to Greece compared with the first four months of 2013.
The country is also expecting a total of some 2.2 million cruise visitors this year, the same as in 2013, as most cruise companies have focused this season’s routes on the United States and other traditional destinations rather than Europe and the Mediterranean due to the negative financial climate in the region. However, sector officials tell Kathimerini they are expecting the number of cruise liners in Mediterranean waters to grow, which will benefit Greece, too.