Τhe balance of travel services in the January-March 2018 posted a surplus of 127 million euros, up 47.3 pct from a surplus of 86 million in January-March 2017, the Bank of Greece said on Monday.

In a report, the central bank said that this development was attributed to the increase in travel receipts (by 64 million euros or 13.2 pct), which outweighed the increase in payments (by 24 million euros or 5.9 pct). The rise in travel receipts in January-March 2018 over the same period of 2017 was driven by a 12.4 pct increase in the number of non-resident inbound visitors, as well as by a rise in average expenditure per trip by 2 euros or 0.7 pct (January-March 2018: 301 euros, January-March 2017: 299 euros).

More specifically, expenditure per overnight stay rose by 2.2 pct (January-March 2018: 55 euros, January-March 2017: 54 euros), while the average length of stay fell by 1.5 pct year-on-year to 5.4 nights (January-March 2017: 5.5 nights). The number of overnight stays increased by 10.7 pct to 10,026 thousand in January-March 2018, from 9,057 thousand in January-March 2017.

Travel receipts in January-March 2018 totalled 554 million euros, up 13.2 pct relative to the same period of 2017. This development was driven by a 22.0 pct increase in receipts from residents of the EU28, which came to 326 million euros or 58.8 pct of total travel receipts, and by a 3.5 pct rise in receipts from residents outside the EU28 to 221 million euros.

In particular, receipts from euro area residents increased by 20.6 pct year-on-year to 217 million euros, while receipts from residents of non-euro area EU28 countries also rose, by 24.9 pct to 109 million euros.

Among major countries of origin, receipts from Germany rose by 35.7 pct to 78 million euros, as did receipts from France, by 17.4 pct to 17 million. Receipts from the United Kingdom also increased, by 24.0 pct to 42 million euros. Turning to non-EU28 countries, receipts from Russia fell by 34.1 pct to 9 million euros, whereas receipts from the United States decreased by 33.6 pct to 35 million.

As already mentioned, the number of inbound visitors in January-March 2018 rose by 12.4 pct to 1,840 thousand, from 1,637 thousand in January-March 2017.

In January-March 2018, the number of overnight stays in Greece totalled 10,026 thousand, up by 10.7 pct from 9,057 thousand in January-March 2017.

The period under review saw 41 cruise ship arrivals (January-March 2017: 92) and 67 thousand cruise passenger visits (January-March 2017: 82 thousand). According to this survey, 85.7 pct of all cruise passengers were transit visitors, with an average of 1.5 stopovers at Greek ports of call (down from 1.7 stopovers in January-Μarch 2018). Total receipts from cruise passengers in January-March 2018 fell by 18.3 pct year-on-year to 8 million euros.