BoG: A leap of 413.7% in traveler traffic in May

The Bank of Greece released figures based on provisional data concerning the balance of travel services in May 2021. These  showed a surplus of €112 million, up from a surplus of €12 million in May 2020. More specifically, travel receipts in May 2021 rose by 286.2% to €168 million, from €44 million in May 2020, while travel payments also increased by 77.7% (May 2021: €56 million, May 2020: €32 million). The rise in travel receipts was due to a 413.7% year-on-year increase in inbound traveler flows, as average expenditure per trip declined by 26.0%. Net receipts from travel services offset 6,2% of the goods deficit and contributed 35,5% to total net receipts from services.

In January-May 2021, the balance of travel services showed a surplus of €137 million, up from a surplus of €218 million in the respective period of 2020. Travel receipts fell by €333 million or 51.2% to €317 million, while travel payments also decreased by €253 million or 58.3% to €180 million. The decrease in travel receipts was driven by a decline in inbound traveller flows (-65.5%), whereas average expenditure per trip rose by 30.1%. Net receipts from travel services offset 1.6% of the goods deficit and contributed 10.1% to total net receipts from services.

Travel receipts

In May 2021, as mentioned previously, travel receipts rose by 286.2% year-on-year. In more detail, receipts from residents of EU27 countries increased by 465.6% to €123 million, while receipts from outside the EU27 rose by 95.7% (May 2021: €43 million, May 2020: €22 million). The rise in receipts from within the EU27 was due to increases in receipts from euro area residents by 555.1% to €102 million (May 2020: €16 million) and in receipts from residents of non-euro area EU27 countries by 241.8% to €21 million. Among major countries of origin, receipts from Germany rose by 553.3% to €38 million and receipts from France increased by 1,791.0% to €25 million. Turning to non-EU27 countries, receipts from the United Kingdom increased by 671.5% to €7 million and receipts from the United States increased by 3,328.2% to €5 million. Receipts from Russia fell by 75.3% and remained under €1 million.

In January-May 2021, travel receipts decreased by 51.2% year-on-year to 317 million. This development was driven by a 19.0% decline in receipts from residents of EU27 countries, which fell to €212 million, and by a 73.3% drop in receipts from residents of non-EU27 countries to €103 million. In greater detail, receipts from euro area residents fell by 19.0% to €170 million, while receipts from residents of non-euro area EU27 countries fell by 18.8% to €42 million. In particular, receipts from Germany increased by 12.8% to €63 million and receipts from France increased by 82.6% to €30 million. Turning to non-EU27 countries, receipts from the United Kingdom fell by 70.4% to €16 million and receipts from the United States decreased by 87.0% to €8 million. Receipts from Russia also decreased, by 94.6% to less than €1 million.

Inbound traveler flows1

The number of inbound travelers in May 2021 rose by 413.7% year-on-year to 285 thousand. Specifically, traveler flows through airports increased significantly compared with May 2020 and traveler flows through road border-crossing points increased by 35.2%. This overall increase was due to higher traveler flows from both within the EU27 (up by 699.7%) and outside the EU27 (up by 166.5%). In greater detail, the number of travelers from within the euro area rose by 3,968.7% to 151 thousand, while travelers from non-euro area EU27 countries rose by 148.8% to 55 thousand. In particular, the number of travelers from Germany rose to 55 thousand, while travelers from France also rose to 31 thousand. Turning to non-EU27 countries, the number of travelers from the United Kingdom and the United States stood at 12 thousand and 4 thousand respectively, while travelers from Russia were less than 1 thousand.

In January-May 2021, the number of inbound travelers fell by 65.5% to 664 thousand (January-May 2020: 1,921 thousand). Specifically, traveler flows through airports declined by 63.1% and traveler flows through road border-crossing points fell by 74.5%. In the period under review, the number of travelers from within the EU27 fell by 55.0% year-on-year to 427 thousand, while travellers from outside the EU27 dropped by 75.7% to 237 thousand. The number of travelers from within the euro area fell by 41.0%, while travelers from non-euro area EU27 countries dropped by 69.6%. Specifically, the number of travelers from Germany decreased by 22.5% to 105 thousand, whereas travelers from France increased by 27.4% to 43 thousand. Turning to non-EU27 countries, the number of travelers from the United Kingdom fell by 74.0% to 30 thousand, while the number of travelers from the United States dropped by 91.0% to 8 thousand and from Russia from 95.1% to 1 thousand.

1 Inbound traveler flows exclude cruise passengers (apart from those recorded