BUSINESS

Travel receipts up 7.1 pct this year

STATHIS KOUSOUNIS

TAGS: Tourism

Foreign holidaymakers spent a total of 10.4 billion euros in Greece in the first eight months of the year, with almost a third of that coming in August, according to Bank of Greece figures released on Thursday.

On a yearly basis travel receipts posted a 7.1 percent increase in the year to end-August, with Britons outspending their German counterparts for the first time in years. British tourists parted with 1.48 billion euros, 33.5 percent more than in the January-August 2014 period. The same percentage of growth was recorded by US visitors, who spent a total of 618.8 million euros.

German tourists parted with 10.2 percent more, to reach 1.43 billion euros, while the French raised their spending 4 percent to 898.3 million euros. The only major market to post a decline was that of Russia, as tourism revenues from Russians fell 68 percent to 281.9 million euros.

Arrivals in the January-August 2015 period expanded 10.6 percent to come to almost 17 million. There was a 35.7 percent yearly rise in US visitors, a 24.9 percent rise in visits from the UK, 22.5 percent from Germany and 4.4 percent from France, while 61.6 percent fewer Russian holidaymakers came to Greece.

In August alone arrivals increased 2.8 percent year-on-year, coming to almost 5 million, but tourism takings declined 7.3 percent from August 2014 due to the introductions of capital controls.

According to estimates by the Tourism Ministry and the Association of Hellenic Tourism Enterprises (SETE), tourists this year will top 26 million and travel takings will come to around 14.5 billion euros.

The travel balance in the first eight months of the year showed a surplus of 9.1 billion euros, or 8.5 percent more than a year earlier. This is mainly thanks to the 690-million-euro increase in travel revenues and the decline in the travel expenditure of Greeks abroad by 20 million euros. Average spending per trip contracted by 3 percent to 600 euros, although August visitors spent 3 percent more than last year.

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