Revenue in Greece from tax-free shopping (purchases with a VAT return) in the first seven months of the year has dropped by 18.54 percent compared to the same period in 2015. Sector experts are attributing the slump to reduced foreign consumer spending and a plunge in the number of Chinese tourists to Greece, who accounted for 45.5 percent of all tax-free purchases last year.
Professionals are hopeful however after August figures demonstrated a positive trend with a growing number of tax-free transactions but of lower value.
On a positive note, shops in Thessaloniki and Northern Greece saw a 17.35 percent increase in the first seven months of 2016 primarily due to transactions by tourists from neighboring countries as well as from Russia.
Indicatively, foreign consumers spend on average 130 euros per transaction, down from 605 euros in the first seven months of 2016, and down from 732 euros in the same period last year.
Chinese visitors this year are spending an average 835 euros in the first seven months of the year down from 1,039 euros in the same period last year, while the Russians have increased expenditure to 579 euros from 533 euros.