ECONOMY

Tourism revenues keep sliding

Tourism receipts suffered a considerable decline of 17.9 percent in the first five months of the year, compared to the same period in 2008, according to data released yesterday by the Bank of Greece. Revenues from tourism in the year to May reached 1.7 billion euros from about 2.1 billion euros in January-May 2008, a decline of 372 million euros. The losses are mostly due to the impact of the global financial crisis on Greece as a holiday destination. In May alone, the drop in receipts came to 24.2 percent year-on-year, as losses reached 134 million euros from May 2008. The decline in revenues is expected to be greater for hotel businesses in the country due to the offers and discounts they have resorted to in order to try to increase their bookings from Greece as well as from abroad. There was also a drop of 6.6 percent in the year to May in what Greeks spent when traveling abroad, while in May alone this reached a 10.9 percent decline. Bank of Greece data show that in the year’s first five months net revenues for travel services declined by 299 million euros. The Institute for Tourism Research and Forecasts (ITEP) compared the country’s tourism revenue figures for the January-May period with those of its rival destinations and found that Greece is having a harder time than its neighbors. Revenue losses in Turkey came to just 5.5 percent, while in Cyprus and Spain they came to 11.7 percent and in Portugal they were 12.4 percent. «This development is due to a combination of four factors: the drop in accommodation rates, the shorter duration of foreign visitors’ stays in the country, lower daily expenditure by tourists and the delay between arrivals and receipts,» commented ITEP yesterday. There was better news from tourism arrivals at Athens International Airport, as June saw only a marginal drop of 1.1 percent year-on-year, against a fall of 8.9 percent for all the country’s airports.