Tourism earn­ings shoot up by 35.8% in April

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

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 MacroPo­

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.

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