Tourist arrivals and sector-related remittances posted, as expected, new records in Greece last year, in 2018, according to Bank of Greece provisional data released on Thursday regarding the balance of travel services, with revenues exceeded 16 billion euros for the year. Tourist arrivals, meanwhile, exceeded 30 million.
Specifically, the BoG announcement reads:
"Based on provisional data, the balance of travel services showed a surplus of €14 million in December 2018, compared with a surplus of €25 million in December 2017. More specifically, travel receipts in December 2018 rose by 40.0% to €266 million, from €190 million in December 2017, while travel payments increased by 53.1% (December 2018: €252 million, December 2017: €165 million). The rise in travel receipts is attributed to a 16.8% increase in inbound traveller flows, as well as to a rise of 20.2% or €67 in average expenditure per trip. Net receipts from travel services accounted for 2.8% of total net receipts from services and offset 0.8% of the goods deficit.
In 2018, the balance of travel services showed a surplus of €13,943 million, up from a surplus of €12,725 million in 2017. This development is attributed to an increase, by 10.1% or €1,483 million, in travel receipts, which were only partly offset by travel payments, up by 13.9% or €265 million. The rise in travel receipts reflected a 10.8% increase in inbound traveller flows, as average expenditure per trip edged down by €1 or 0.2%. Net receipts from travel services accounted for 72.0% of total net receipts from services and offset 62.0% of the goods deficit.
In December 2018, as mentioned previously, travel receipts rose by 40.0% year-on-year. In more detail, receipts from residents of the EU28 rose by 4.4% to €115 million and receipts from outside the EU28 rose by 90.9% (December 2018: €149 million, December 2017: €78 million). The higher receipts from within the EU28 were driven by a 22.0% increase in receipts from residents of non-euro area EU28 countries to €46 million, as receipts from euro area residents decreased by 4.8% to €68 million (December 2017: €72 million). Among major countries of origin, receipts from Germany fell by 18.4% to €16 million, whereas receipts from France increased by 85.4% to €8 million. Receipts from the United Kingdom increased by 23.1% to €23 million. Turning to non-EU28 countries, receipts from Russia rose by 175.8% to €9 million, while receipts from the United States also increased by 84.4% to €23 million.
In 2018, travel receipts totalled €16,113 million, up 10.1% relative to the previous year. This development was driven by an 11.9% increase in receipts from residents of the EU28, which came to €11,034 million, and by a 7.3% rise in receipts from residents outside the EU28 to €4,662 million. In particular, receipts from euro area residents increased by 12.9% year-on-year to €7,110 million, while receipts from residents of non-euro area EU28 countries rose by 10.1% to €3,924 million. Specifically, receipts from Germany increased by 16.1% to €2,965 million, while receipts from France decreased by 3.8% to €956 million. Receipts from the United Kingdom also decreased, by 5.9% to €1,943 million. Turning to non-EU28 countries, receipts from Russia fell by 19.2% to €338 million, whereas receipts from the United States rose by 28.1% to €1,043 million.
Inbound traveller flows
The number of inbound visitors in December 2018 rose by 16.8% year-on-year to 657 thousand. Specifically, visitor flows through airports increased by 12.2%, while visitor flows through road border-crossing points also increased by 25.9%. This increase in flows was due to higher visitor flows from both outside the EU28 (up 29.0%) and within the EU28 (up 6.1%). In greater detail, the number of visitors from within the euro area decreased by 2.6% to 138 thousand, whereas visitors from the non-euro area EU28 countries increased by 14.0% (December 2018: 181 thousand, December 2017: 159 thousand). Specifically, the number of visitors from Germany rose by 1.1% to 38 thousand, while visitors from France increased by 70.9% to 13 thousand. Visitors from the United Kingdom fell by 23.1% to 34 thousand. Turning to non-EU28 countries, the number of visitors from Russia increased by 94.8% to 17 thousand, as did the number of visitors from the United States, by 30.2% to 33 thousand.
In 2018, the number of inbound visitors rose by 10.8% to 30,123 thousand, up from 27,194 thousand in 2017. Specifically, visitor flows through airports increased by 13.6%, while visitor flows through road border-crossing points increased by 6.4%. In the period under review, the number of visitors from within the EU28 rose by 15.1% year-on-year to 21,398 thousand, whereas the number of visitors from outside the EU28 rose only slightly, by 1.3% to 8,725 thousand. Visitors from within the euro area rose by 15.9% and visitors from the non-euro area EU28 countries increased by 14.2%. Specifically, the number of visitors from Germany increased by 18.2% to 4,381 thousand, as did the number of visitors from France, by 7.3% to 1,524 thousand. The number of visitors from the United Kingdom decreased by 2.0% to 2,943 thousand. Finally, turning to non-EU28 countries, the number of visitors from Russia fell by 11.6% to 520 thousand, whereas the number of visitors from the United States rose by 26.9% to 1,097 thousand. "