Visits and spending by Russian tourists in Greece were down in the first half of this year, while those of US citizens increased significantly, preliminary data from the Bank of Greece has shown.
At the same time, Germans now occupy top place for tourism visits and spending in Greece, having surpassed Britons.
Early indications show that decline in Russian tourists have continued in July and August, a trend attributed to the sharp decline in the purchasing power of the ruble and the shifting of this market to the much cheaper Turkish market due to the depreciation of the Turkish lira.
The appreciation of the dollar against the euro as well as the promotional activity of Greek businesses in the US are seen to be behind the large rise in US tourism and receipts.
In June, travel receipts grew by 16 percent, to 2.329 billion euros, year on year.
Receipts from Germany increased by 23.1 percent to 407 million, while those from France increased by 19.9 percent to 122 million. UK receipts went up only 6.5 percent, to reach 414 million.
On the other hand, Russian travel receipts were down 14.9 percent to 63 million, while those from the US increased by 10.8 percent to reach 131 million.
Over the six-month period, travel receipts increased by 18.9 percent year on year, to reach 4.848 billion.
In particular, receipts from Germany increased by 44.5 percent to 972 million, while those from France went up by 11.9 percent to 276 million. Revenues from the UK also increased by 7 percent to 707 million.
Russian travel receipts fell 23.4 percent from January to June, to reach 99 million, while those from the US rose by 5.4 percent to 288 million.
Airport arrivals in June amounted to 4.104 million passengers, up 22.3 percent on the same month last year, while overall from January to June, they increased 19.1 percent to 9.5 million passengers, compared to 7.941 million in the first half of 2017.
Overall, the sector’s balance of payments showed a surplus of 2.172 billion in June, up by 300 million year-on-year.
The six-month surplus amounted to 3.762 billion, up 615 million.
This article was first published by ekathimerini.com