The number of arrivals from Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia and Albania rose by 115.6 percent over the six year period and is continuing its upward trend into 2017. Citing Hellenic Statistical Authority data, Naftemporiki reports that visitors from the four main Balkan countries came to 3,660,143 in 2015 compared to 1,697,355 in 2009.
The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) is a main market with 3,023,059 visits to Greece in 2015. Bulgaria, meanwhile, marked a 189.2 percent rise over the 2009-2015 period with 1,900,642 arrivals from 657,129 in 2009. The figure also doubled for Albanian travelers to 491,381 in 2015 against 234,275 in 2009.
Holidaymakers from Balkan countries have played a major part in boosting Greek tourism figures but analysts note that reduced spending – in part due to shorter stays – by this market compared to other European travelers has taken a toll on Greece’s travel receipts.
According to Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) data, limited spending per trip is due in part to the significant increase in arrivals from FYROM with spending per trip at 81.7 euros in 2015 and from Bulgaria with average expenditure at 102.9 euros.
Another report by Alpha Bank citing an increase in tourists from Balkan countries (who spend less on average) backs this assessment adding that travelers from the Eurozone are declining, which would also explain the drop in travel-related revenue.