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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.