Official data released on Monday by the Bank of Greece confirmed that 2015 was an all-time record year for Greek tourism, thanks to the significant contribution of revenues from US and British holidaymakers.
Tourism takings last year amounted to 14.2 billion euros, posting annual growth of 6 percent. Revenues from US tourists registered a massive 44.4 percent year-on-year rise to reach a record 945.6 million euros, while revenues from the British market exceeded 2 billion euros, posting 30.5 percent annual growth. This development came about mainly due to the slide of the euro against the US dollar and the British pound.
There were also gains in revenues from German visitors, who spent 13.6 percent more last year, reaching 2.26 billion, while French tourists achieved record spending of 1.2 billion euros, rising 6.6 percent compared to 2014. On the other hand, there was a major 63.2 percent year-on-year decline in revenues from the Russian market, which amounted to 425.5 million euros.
The number of tourism arrivals in Greece expanded 7.1 percent in 2015 from the year before, reaching an all-time high of 23.6 million, with US and French tourists also posting record numbers. The number of US visitors climbed above 750,000, rising 26.8 percent from 2014, while French visitors rose 4 percent to exceed 1.5 million.
There was also a positive trend in Greek tourism’s two main markets: German holidaymakers increased 14.3 percent on a yearly basis to top 2.8 million, while 14.7 percent more Britons visited Greece in 2015 than in 2014 to add up to almost 2.4 million. The number of Russian tourists slumped 59 percent to almost 513,000.
In December 2015 alone there was a 12.2 percent increase in tourism revenues, which reached 205 million euros, while foreign tourism arrivals declined by 9.3 percent from December 2014 to 488,000. All main five markets (German, British, French, US and Russian) posted a rise in arrivals, while revenues rose from the Americans, the Russians and the French, but declined from the Germans and the British.
BoG figures also showed that the travel balance recorded a surplus of 12.17 billion euros last year, rising 7.5 percent from the surplus of 11.3 billion registered in 2014. This development is mainly attributed to the rise in tourism revenues by 801 million euros and, to a lesser extent, to the 51-million-euro decline in travel payments (money used for traveling abroad).
Average expenditure per trip amounted to 582.9 million euros, recording a decline of 1.2 percent from 2014.