Travellers from Australia, the majority of whom are fellow Greek Australians not only returned to Greece last summer, but spent more money per night than visitors from any other country.
In particular, the average spend per night for those coming from Australia was €128.2 (about AU$188 at the then exchange rate) for the third quarter of 2022 (July – August – September) when the average for all tourists was €83.3 (AU$121).
In second place were visitors from the US (spending €107.5) and in third place those from Canada (€104), for the same period.
Only cruise tourists – who tend to spend more in each stop as they want to experience more in a shorter period of time – were ahead, with a median expenditure per day at €128.4. For them, there is no distinction based on nationality, according to data from the Bank of Greece (BoG), which conducts a monthly sample survey at the the country’s main entry-exit points.
The same data, shows that in the third quarter of 2022, the number of non-residents who visited Greece from Australia amounted to 71,300 arrivals compared to 4,400 people who managed to travel to Greece between 2020 and 2021.
AUSTRALIAN TOURISTS INVEST IN GREECE
In pre-pandemic 2019, between July, August and September, Greece saw 199,000 Australians travel to the country and 212,900 in 2018.
Travel receipts from Australia last year amounted to €99.5 million (for the third quarter), compared to €2.7 million in the same period for 2021 and €2.3 million in 2020.
Before the pandemic, in the same period receipts from tourists had reached €247.6 million in 2019 and €252.4 million in 2018.
The sum of overnight stays in Greece by travellers from Australia, for the period between July and September, amounted to €776,300 in 2022, up from €107,200 in 2021, and €60,300 in 2020. The revenue from overnight stays was €2,827,000 in 2019 and €3,044,000 in 2018.
A LONG WAY TILL FULL RECOVERY
The numbers prove that full recovery may take a while, especially while the exchange rate between the euro and the Australian dollar remains unfavourable, in an environment of higher inflation, with soaring airfares leaving many people wondering whether to travel this year.
The spending index in Greece per trip for visitors from Australia (excluding international air fares) reached €1,396 in the third quarter of 2022 (it was much higher at €2,088 in the second quarter) compared to €622.6 in the same period in 2021 and €917.2 in 2020. The spending index was €1,243 in 2019 and €1,185.5 in 2018.
In terms of the length of stays, the figures were down with an average of 10.9 nights in the third quarter of 2022, compared to 19.2 in the second quarter last year and 16 in the first quarter.
In the midst of a pandemic, the respective numbers were much higher, as those who managed to leave Australia stayed, on average, 29.4 days in the fourth quarter of 2021; 24.6 in the third quarter; 23.3 in the second, while there was not enough data for the first quarter due to the small number of travellers according to the BoG.
Similarly, visitors chose to stay for an average of 21.2 days in the fourth quarter of 2020, 24.2 in the third quarter and 13.5 in the first.
In 2019, tourists stayed for 10.4 days in the fourth quarter, 14.2 in the third, 15.4 in the second and 9.2 in the first.
Finally, in 2018 the overnight stay total was 11.2 days in the fourth quarter, 14.3 in the third quarter, 11.8 in the second and 10.8 in the first.
EUROPE AND THE US STILL GREECE’S MAIN TOURISM SOURCES
Visits and total travel receipts from Australia are far below those from European countries and even the US, destinations connected to Greece with direct flights.
Commenting on the 2022 figures, in an interview with SKAI TV, Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias, spoke about the expansion of the tourist season and travel revenues, which according to the provisional data of the BoG exceeded the initial target by 2.6 billion.
“Travel receipts from the very important markets of the UK, France and Germany increased in 2022 by 21.8 per cent, 16.4 per cent and 10 per cent respectively, compared to 2019,” he said, adding that the agreement with US airlines for 63 direct flights per week to Eleftherios Venizelos was also decisive, resulting in more American “high spending” travellers visiting Athens and other Greek destinations.
“For 2023, we already have 56 flights per week from the US – starting from March 11, with more to be added – plus Canada with two flights, plus Australia and China which opened after the pandemic,” Kikilias noted.
EU, UK AND US NUMBERS
According to the BoG, compared to 2019, last year’s total travel receipts declined by 3.0 per cent and inbound travel dropped by 11.2 per cent.
Inbound traffic increased in 2022 by 89.3 per cent compared to 2021 and stood at 27.835 million travellers compared to 14.7 million in 2021 and 31.34 million in 2019.
Travel receipts showed an increase of 67.9 per cent compared to 2021 and stood at €17.631 billion compared to €18.17 billion in 2019.
Specific year-round figures were provided for France, Germany, the UK, the USA and Russia (with a significant decrease due to the war in Ukraine).
From Germany, the revenue for Greece from travel receipts in 2022 reached €3.255 billion compared to €2.95 billion in 2019, up 10 per cent. Germans visiting the country amounted to 4.35 million last year compared to 4.02 million in 2019 (+8.1 per cent).
From France, receipts last year increased by 16.4 per cent compared to 2019, to €1.268 billion, up from €1.08 billion then. At the same time, visitors from France increased by 14 per cent, to 1.75 million arrivals, from 1.54 million arrivals back in 2019.
The largest increase compared to pre-pandemic levels, was in travel receipts from Britain that reached €3.123 billion, up from €2.56 billion in 2019. The number of travelers from from Britain last year increased by 28.2 per cent to 4.485 million people, up from 3.499 million in 2019.
Lastly, arrivals from the US last year increased, albeit marginally, by 0.6 per cent per year, while revenue from travelers rose up to €1.95 billion in 2022, up from €1.18 billion in 2019. Travel from the US did not fully recover to pre-pandemic levels and Greece welcomed 1.08 million American visitors compared to 1.17 million US arrivals recorded in 2019.