Tourism earnings shoot up by 35.8% in April
Travel receipts in April soared 35.8% to 411 mln euros from 303 mln last year, according to the latest Bank of Greece (BoG) data, while travel payments surged 53% to 232 mln euros, leading the travel surplus for April to 179 mln, a rise of 18.5%.
The strong improvement in travel receipts mainly reflects an increase in international tourist arrivals by 30.6% to 728,000 from 558,000 last year. The latter figure represented a 10.9% decline compared to the 2012 respective figure, commented MacroPolis.gr.
In addition, travel spending per trip rose 5.3% to 524 euros in April 2014 from 498 euros last year.
International arrivals from Germany showed the biggest rise (up 35.6%), followed by the US (up 35.2%) and the UK (up 29.4%). In contrast, arrivals from Russia posted a moderate increase of 1.4%.
The 4-month figures showed travel receipts increasing by 27.8% to 900 mln euros from 705 mln last year.
The BoG figures also include 43 mln euros in receipts from cruises, which recorded a slower growth of 13.2%. Their share of total receipts eased to 4.8% from 5.4% last year. However, the four-month figure is higher than the 3.7% recorded for the whole year in 2013.
The four-month travel surplus surged 30% to 252 mln euros, also reflecting a rise in travel payments by 26.9%.
Despite the recorded double-digit rise in travel receipts, their share in the current account’s services balance remained broadly flat at 9.1%, primarily due to a higher rise in the transport services balance.
The four-month travel receipt growth reflects a 21.1% rise in international tourist arrivals to 1.91 mln with travel spending per trip increasing by 6.2% to 448 euros.
Arrivals from Russia posted the sharpest rise (54%), with UK and US following suit by posting 44.2 and 24% growth in the 4-month period.
The Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE) has upped its estimate for 2014 tourist arrivals to 19 mln from 18.5 mln previously. That projection was reinforced earlier this month after the release of 5-month arrivals at the main Greek airports, which showed a 20.4% growth over the corresponding period of 2013.
The upward revision mainly reflected the updated figures for scheduled flights (up 25% to 15.8 mln) and a rise by 750,000 of tourist arrivals in Athens. These forecasts did not incorporate cruise passengers, of whom there were 2.19 mln in 2013.
According to a SETE study, the key risks for 2014 scheduled visits are the high occupancy rates in the peak period (June – September) along with the monthly ceiling of 2.11 mln tourists recorded last year.
In particular, SETE figures on this year’s seasonality indicated that 2.6 to 3.4 mln visits are due each month in June until September. This means that a part of scheduled visits in the peak period cannot be realised.
In addition, the SETE study also indicated there is a risk that some of the scheduled visits from Russia and Ukraine, which account for 15 and 2% of the total, may not take place. The growth of arrivals from Russia showed a significant slowdown to a modest 1.4% in April from 44.3 and 106.2% recorded in March and February respectively.
SETE’s latest estimates for travel receipts in the whole of 2014 are for a rise of 6.6% to 13 bln euros. Apart from the volume growth, a key catalyst for the achievement of this target is also the evolution of travel spending per trip, which slipped 1.9% in 2013 to 604 euros, remaining 38% below that of Spain.