Greece Accommodation Rates: The “paradox” of arrivals’ Rise and Revenues’ Drop

Greece Accommodation Rates: The drop in overnight accommodation rates, especially in the peak season, the reduction in travel expenditure per trip, which is a global trend, and the fact that many of the new arrivals came from tourists who stayed in the big Greek cities of Athens and Thessaloniki for fewer days and in the off peak season are the main reasons for the reduction in tourist revenues in Greece during 2016.

This conclusion results from a survey included in a special section in the Monetary Policy Report by the Governor of the Bank of Greece, “The paradox of tourism in 2016: More arrivals, less revenue”.

According to the Bank of Greece Borders Survey, in 2016 annual arrivals and overnight stays increased (by 5.1% and 2.9% respectively), while travel receipts declined (6.8%).This occurred despite the marginal increase (by 0.2%) of hotel prices based on the ELSTAT index.

Greece Accommodation Rates

Moreover, by looking back at the last six years, it is noted that the annual rates of change in the number of arrivals / overnight stays and travel receipts diverge as early as 2014 and ultimately move in the opposite direction in 2016.

In fact, the rate of change in travel revenue is decreasing from 2014, at an accelerated rate, and eventually becomes negative in 2016.

The Bank of Greece stresses that data (receipts, arrivals, overnight stays) come from interviews of a sample of travelers within the framework of the Border Survey and therefore it is not possible that the data on receipts (and the paradox being investigated) reflect tax evasion (e.g. Airbnb accommodation owners).

BoG urges sector stakeholders to focus more on attracting additional overnight stays rather than increasing foreign visitor arrivals and adds that tourist arrivals in 2013 were at 18 million, 22 million in 2014, 23.6 million in 2015 and 24.8 million visitors in 2016 while average spending per visitor came to 653.3 euros in 2013, 590.2 euros in 2014, 582.9 euros in 2015 and 514.3 euros in 2016.

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