Surplus of the balance of travel services down 7.6 pct in January-June 2016,

The surplus of the balance of travel services was 3,363 million euros in January-June 2016, down 7.6% from a surplus of 3,642 million euros in January-June 2015.

This is attributed to a larger decrease in travel receipts (down 330 million euros) than in travel payments (down 52 million euros or 9.8%). The decrease in travel receipts in January-June 2016 over the same period of 2015 was mainly driven by a fall in average expenditure per trip of 47 euros or 9.4% as non-resident arrivals rose by 1.7%.

Travel receipts in January-June 2016 totalled 3,841 million euros, falling by 7.9% relative to the same period of 2015. This development was driven mainly by a 13.8% decrease in receipts from outside the EU28, which came to 1,191 million euros or 31.0% of total travel receipts, as well as by a drop in receipts from residents of the EU28 (down 6.3% to 2,487 million euros).

In particular, receipts from euro area residents fell by 9.5% to 1,483 million euros, while receipts from residents of non-euro area EU28 countries dropped by 1.3% to 1,004 million euros.

Among major countries of origin, receipts from Germany fell by 11.7% to 597 million euros, those from France by 26.1% to 236 million euros and those from the United Kingdom by 5.0% to 602 million euros. Turning to non-EU28 countries, receipts from Russia fell by 12.8% to 110 million euros and those from the United States by 20.6% to 268 million euros.

In January-June 2016, overnight stays in Greece totalled 56,868 thousand, up by a modest 0.4% from 56,639 thousand in January-June 2015. This reflected an increase of 4.7% in stays by residents of non-EU28 countries, as stays by residents of the EU28 fell by 1.8%. The decrease in stays by residents of the EU28 was due to a decline in stays by residents of non-euro area EU28 countries (down 2.2%), as well as by residents of the euro area (down 1.6%). Stays by German residents dropped by 6.5% and those by French residents by 17.2%. By contrast, stays by UK residents rose by 2.5%. Turning to non-EU28 countries, stays by Russian residents increased by 10.8% and those by US residents rose by 6.6%.

Ιn the period under review, 1,487 cruise ship arrivals (January-June 2015: 1,490) and 1,783 thousand cruise passenger visits (January-June 2015: 1,626 thousand) were recorded. It should be noted that a breakdown by country of origin is not available at present for the Cruise Survey data. This survey revealed that 91.9% of all cruise passengers were transit visitors, with an average of two stopovers at Greek ports of call, virtually unchanged from a year earlier.

In January-June 2016, total receipts from cruise passengers rose by 14.2% year-on-year to 177 million euros. Of this amount, 13 million euros was already captured in the Border Survey data, as it represents receipts from visitors leaving the country through Greek last ports, while the remaining 164 million euros represent additional receipts data recorded by the Cruise Survey.

Chart 7 shows a breakdown of cruise receipts by port. With a share of 45.5% in total cruise receipts, the port of Piraeus ranks first in terms of cruise receipts, followed by the port of Corfu with 13.6% and the port of Santorini with 8.4%. The seven most important cruise ship ports account for 89.7% of total cruise receipts and 85.0% of total cruise passenger arrivals.

In the period under review, total overnight stays ashore increased by 12.5% to 1,364 thousand, while the total number of cruise visitors rose by 29.5% year-on-year to an estimated 1,092 thousand, with a positive impact on cruise receipts.