Year of records in tourism, with 27 pct more US visitors in 2014

Greek tourism enjoyed a golden year in 2014, as both arrivals and revenues reached an all-time high, according to provisional figures for the period from January to November released on Wednesday by the Bank of Greece.

International arrivals expanded by 22.7 percent in the first 11 months of 2014 from the same period in 2013, reaching 21.5 million. Travel revenues rose 10.8 percent on an annual basis, climbing to 13.3 billion euros. It was the first year ever that tourism contributed over 13 billion euros to the Greek economy, and that was not including December data.

The biggest increase in revenues was from French tourists, with their spending of 1.1 billion euros 25.1 percent higher than last year. Travel receipts from US tourists grew 15.5 percent to 643.9 million euros, from British visitors 15.1 percent to over 1.5 billion euros, while the Germans spent nearly 2 billion euros in Greece, up 4.7 percent on 2013. Revenues from Russian tourists declined by 13.2 percent to 1.15 billion euros.

Arrivals data showed a big year-on-year increase in US tourists, amounting to 27.8 percent, with 579,200 Americans coming to Greece between January and end-November last year. French visitors rose 27 percent to over 1.4 million and Britons exceeded 2 million, increasing by 13.4 percent.

In November arrivals grew by a spectacular 53.9 percent from a year earlier, reaching 670,000. Travel receipts rose 30.7 percent to 267.2 million euros.