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Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

Af­ter a tem­po­rary slow­down in May, travel re­ceipts re­bounded strongly in June, shoot­ing up by 16.3% from 0.8% in May, ac­cord­ing to Bank of Greece (BoG) data.

In ab­so­lute fig­ures, travel re­ceipts in June reached 1.99 bln eu­ros from 1.71 bln last year. Travel pay­ments also rose by 12.1% to 203 mln in May. As a re­sult, the travel sur­plus surged 16.7% to 1.78 bln from 1.53 bln last year.

The re­bound in travel re­ceipts re­flects a 13.7% rise in tourist ar­rivals and a moder­ate rise of 2.5% in travel spend­ing per trip. reached 2.7 mln in June from 2.37 mln last year.

The high­est rise in ar­rivals was recorded by tourists from the UK (+41.2%), France (+16.8%) and Ger­many (+12.2%).

On the flipside, the in­crease in ar­rivals from Rus­sia slowed to 1.9% from 34.5% in May, most likely due to re­cent de­vel­op­ments in the re­gion and the fi­nan­cial prob­lems faced by Rus­sian tour op­er­a­tors. The lat­ter is ex­pected to have a higher neg­a­tive im­pact as of July, since three travel agen­cies have gone bank­rupt in the past two months, ac­cord­ing to the news site MacroPo­lis.gr.

The more up­dated fig­ures re­cently re­leased by the As­so­ci­a­tion of Greek Tourism En­ter­prises (SETE) con­firmed the pos­i­tive trend in ar­rivals re­mained in July.

In par­tic­u­lar, tourist ar­rivals at the main air­ports in­creased 14.9% in July and 16.5% in the 7-month pe­riod. Ar­rivals in Athens en­joyed the high­est rise at 25.5% in July and 31% in

Ar­rivals the seven months.

The ag­gre­gate fig­ures pro­vided by the BoG for the first half of 2014 showed travel re­ceipts rose 13.4% to 3.94 bln eu­ros. This cor­re­sponds to an ac­cel­er­a­tion com­pared to the growth rate of 10.6% posted in the 5-month pe­riod.

The evo­lu­tion of travel re­ceipts in the 6-month pe­riod re­flects a 15.6% rise in tourist ar­rivals partly coun­ter­bal­anced by a 1.7% drop in travel spend­ing per trip. In ab­so­lute terms, ar­rivals reached 6.26 mln from 5.24 mln last year. Tourists from the UK (up 33.8%), US (up 22%) and France (up 15.1%) ex­hib­ited the high­est in­crease in the first half of the year. In con­trast, ar­rivals from Ger­many rose by a mod­est 1.9% to 714,000, still re­main­ing the coun­try with the high­est num­ber of tourists in Greece.

Travel re­ceipts from Rus­sia slipped 2.5% de­spite a 13.5% in­crease in ar­rivals.

The sum­mer pe­riod, which of­fi­cially started in June, is the most crit­i­cal for the Greek tourism sec­tor. In 2013, more than half (55.4%) of the full year ar­rivals oc­curred in June-Au­gust. In­clud­ing those in May and Septem­ber, ar­rivals dur­ing this 5month pe­riod made up 82% of last year’s ar­rivals.

SETE ex­pects in­ter­na­tional ar­rivals to reach 19 mln in 2014 from 18 mln in 2013. This es­ti­mate ex­cludes cruise ar­rivals, which stood at 2.19 mln in 2013. Travel re­ceipts are ex­pected at 13 bln eu­ros in 2014 - an in­crease of 6.6% over 2013.

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