Based on final data by the Bank of Greece, the balance of travel services in 2022 posted a surplus of €15,751.5 million, up by 67.7% from a surplus of €9,390.2 million in 2021. This development was due to a stronger increase in travel receipts (up by €7,173.5 million or 68.3%) than in travel payments (up by €812.1 million or 73.0% – Chart 1). Higher travel receipts in 2022 compared with 2021 were driven by a 96.0% increase in the number of non‑resident inbound travellers, as well as by a rise in average expenditure per overnight stay by €1.8 or 2.2% (2022: €80.3, 2021: €78.5 – Table 1).
In greater detail, average expenditure per trip decreased by 14.1% (2022: €591.7, 2021: €688.9) as the average length of stay dropped by 16.0% to stand at 7.4 overnight stays (2021: 8.8 nights). Total overnight stays (Table 5) in 2022 increased by 64.7% to €220,213.1 thousand (2021: 133,734.9 thousand nights).
Travel receipts in 2022 totalled €17,676.2 million, up by 68.3% compared with 2021. This development was driven by a 47.2% increase in receipts from residents of the EU27, which came to €10,005.6 million and accounted for 56.6% of total travel receipts, and by a 105.4% rise in receipts from non-EU27 residents to €7,251.9 million (Table 2 and Chart 2).
In more detail, receipts from euro area residents increased by 45.2% year‑on‑year to €8,038.7 million, while receipts from residents of non-euro area EU27 countries increased by 55.9% to €1,966.9 million.
Among major countries of origin, receipts from Germany rose by 40.6% to €3,255.8 million and receipts from France grew by 28.8% to €1,277.0 million. Turning to non‑EU27 countries, receipts from the United Kingdom rose by 113.3% to €3,127.1 million, while receipts from the United States increased by 101.3%% to €1,200.2 million. Receipts from Russia decreased by 63.9% to €41.4 million.
Travel receipts by trip purpose
Looking at the breakdown of non‑residents’ expenditure in Greece by trip purpose, trips for personal reasons represented the bulk of total travel receipts in 2022, with a share of 94.6%, from 95.7% in 2021, while the corresponding receipts increased by 66.4%. Within this category, leisure accounted for the largest share of total receipts (2022: 85.3%, 2021: 87.6%), with the corresponding receipts increasing by 63.8% year‑on‑year to €15,070.1 million. Trips for the purpose of visiting family, with a share of 6.1% in total receipts, up from last year’s 5.8%, showed a rise of 77.2% in corresponding receipts. Receipts from trips for health purposes also grew, by 173.2% to €61.7 million. Lastly, receipts from business trips rose by 111.9% and their share in total receipts increased (2022: 5.4%, 2021: 4.3% – Table 3 and Chart 3).
Inbound traveller flows
As already mentioned, the number of inbound travellers in 2022 rose by 96.0% to 29,875.8 thousand, from 15,246.1 thousand in 2021. Specifically, traveller flows through airports increased by 81.5% and traveller flows through road border‑crossing points rose by 133.1%. Travellers from within the EU27 accounted for 56.9% of the total number of travellers, while travellers from outside the EU27 accounted for 36.3%. In 2022, the number of travellers from within the EU27 increased by 67.9% compared with 2021. This development is attributed to a rise in the number of travellers from euro-area countries by 57.2% to 11,567.0 thousand, as well as to an increase in the number of travellers from non‑euro area EU27 countries by 96.4% to 5,427.9 thousand. Travellers from non‑EU27 countries grew by 136.6% to 10,840.7 thousand.
In particular, the number of travellers from Germany increased by 45.0% to 4,352.3 thousand and that from France by 49.6% to 1,757.6 thousand. Turning to non‑EU27 countries, the number of travellers from the United Kingdom increased by 181.9% to €4,485.3 thousand. The number of travellers from the United States rose by 174.9% and stood at 1,088.7 thousand, while the number of travellers from Russia decreased by 69.8% and stood at 36.1 thousand.
In 2022, the number of overnight stays in Greece totalled 220,213.1 thousand, up by 64.7% from 133,734.9 thousand in 2021. This was driven by a 49.5% rise in nights spent by EU27 residents, as well as by a 98.9% increase in nights spent by non‑EU27 residents. The rise in overnight stays by EU27 residents is attributed to increases of 46.7% in nights spent by euro-area residents and by 60.2% in nights spent by non-euro-area EU27 residents. The number of overnight stays rose by 43.4% for German residents and by 31.1% for French residents. Turning to non‑EU27 countries, the number of overnight stays increased by 132.2% for UK residents and by 116.3% for US residents, while overnight stays for residents of Russia dropped by 70.7% (Table 5 and Chart 5).
Since 2012, the Bank of Greece conducts a Cruise Survey in order to enrich the data collected through its Border Survey. Following a standardised methodology, detailed cruise data for 2022 were collected at 16 Greek ports, covering 84.0% of all cruise ship arrivals in Greece.
The year under review saw 4,598 cruise ship arrivals (2021: 2,074) and 4,493.6 thousand cruise passenger visits (2021: 1,538.8 thousand – Table 7). According to the Cruise Survey, 88.5% of all cruise passengers were transit visitors, with an average of 2.1 stopovers at Greek ports of call, compared with 2.6 stopovers in 2021.
Total receipts from cruise passengers in 2022 rose by 145.7% year‑on‑year to €493.4 million. Of this amount, €74.7 million were already captured in the Border Survey data, as they represent receipts from travellers leaving the country through Greek last ports, while the remaining €418.7 million concern additional receipts data recorded by the Cruise Survey.
Chart 7 shows a breakdown of cruise receipts by port. The port of Piraeus ranks first with a share of 43.7% in total cruise receipts, followed by the port of Santorini and the port of Heraklion with 10.0% and 8.4%, respectively. The seven most important cruise ship ports account for 88.4% of total cruise receipts and 81.9% of total cruise passenger visits.
Total overnight stays ashore rose by 47.3% year‑on‑year to 4,253.4 thousand in 2022, with a positive impact on cruise receipts. The total number of cruise passengers also rose year‑on‑year, by 269.1% to an estimated 2,162.1 thousand.
Balance of travel services by region
As suggested by the Border Survey, travel receipts in 2022 amounted to €17,257.4 million. Five regions accounted for the bulk (88.9%) of total receipts, namely: the South Aegean (4,706.8 million), Crete (3,660.8 million), Attica (2,849.2 million), the Ionian Islands (2,607.7 million) and Central Macedonia (1,511.0 million). The remaining regions (the Peloponnese, Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, Epirus, Thessaly, Western Greece, Central Greece, the North Aegean and Western Macedonia) together accounted for €1,921.9 million.
Visits to Greece (all 13 regions combined) in 2022 totalled 31,366.7 thousand. The number of visits exceeds the number of inbound travellers (29,875.8 thousand travellers), as travellers may visit more than one region in the course of one trip.
The five most popular regional destinations, accounting for 83.5% of total visits, were: the South Aegean (6,695.6 thousand nights), Attica (5,623.9 thousand), Central Macedonia (5,568.2 thousand), Crete (5,113.5 thousand) and the Ionian Islands (3,176.3 thousand). The remaining regions (Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, Epirus, the Peloponnese, Thessaly, Western Greece, Central Greece, the North Aegean and Western Macedonia) together accounted for 5,189.2 thousand visits.
The number of overnight stays in Greece in the period under review totalled 216,948.9 thousand. According to the breakdown into the 13 regions, five regions accounted for 85.9% of total overnight stays, namely: the South Aegean (51,370.6 thousand nights), Crete (41,890.5 thousand), Attica (35,135.4 thousand), Central Macedonia (33,925.6 thousand) and the Ionian Islands (24,025.8 thousand). The remaining regions (the Peloponnese, Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, Thessaly, Epirus, Western Greece, Central Greece, the North Aegean and Western Macedonia) together accounted for 30,601.1 thousand overnight stays.
In comparison with 2019, the last year before the pandemic
Compared with 2019, in 2022 travel receipts fell by 2.8% and travel payments by 29.9%, while the travel surplus increased by €316.6 million.
In greater detail, the average expenditure per trip rose by 10.7% (2022: €591.7, 2019: €534.6) and the average expenditure by overnight stay by 4.4% (2022: €80.3, 2019: €76.9), while the average length of stay grew by 6.0% (2022: 7.4 nights, 2019: 7.0 nights). The number of overnight stays decreased by 6.9% in 2022 compared with 2019 (2022: 220,213.1 thousand nights, 2019: 236,547.4 thousand nights), while inbound traveller flows dropped by 12.1%.
Travel for leisure in 2022 decreased by 5.1% against 2019, while receipts from business trips increased by 6.1% (2022: €950.0 million, 2019: €895.0 million).
Lastly, total receipts from cruise passengers declined by 11.2% in 2022 compared with 2019.