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Greece Evolving into Tax Free Shopping Destination

Photo source: Global Blue

Photo source: Global Blue

Greece is slowly but steadily evolving into a strong tax free shopping destination, according to data for 2018 released by solutions firm Global Blue at an event in Athens.

Speaking at “The Challenge of the Chinese Tourist Market” event held at NEW Hotel, Global Blue COO Laurent Delmas presented 2018 figures, the trends and opportunities as well as ways to transform Greece into a must-visit shopping destination.

According to Global Blue findings, Greece’s tax free shopping recorded 20 percent compound annual growth (CAGR) over the last five years – three times higher compared to Europe’s and landing Greece in the 19th spot among other established European destinations including the UK, France and Italy.

Chinese visitors are for the most driving the market, accounting for 40 percent of all tax free spending.

Global Blue COO Laurent Delmas.

Global Blue COO Laurent Delmas.

Premium shopping accounted for 33 percent of total expenditure with transactions of over 2,000 euros marking their best performance in 2018.

Frequent shoppers visiting Greece make up 20 percent of the tax free shoppers and account for 25 percent of all transactions with an average budget of 800 euros per traveler, much lower compared to rival market Turkey at 1,163 euros and Spain at 1,219 euros.

Of tax free shoppers visiting Greece, 28 percent are from Russia and 30 percent from Northern Macedonia.

The so-called “elite” travelers represent only 1 percent.

Meanwhile, the Chinese account for 42 percent of all tax free transactions spending on average 1,400 euros, followed by US nationals at 1,200 euros.

In terms of destinations, Attica is a favorite for Chinese buyers who account for 60 percent of all sales in the Attica region.

Photo source: Global Blue

Photo source: Global Blue

American travelers opt for the Cyclades region, accounting for approximately 20 percent of sales there. It should be noted that on the Cyclades islands, which include Mykonos and Santorini, average tax free shopping expenditure comes to 1,100 euros due to the availability of luxury brands.

Northern Greece attracts mainly Russian visitors (14 percent) and holidaymakers form North Macedonia (37 percent) due to proximity.

Premium & Lifestyle categories were the main drivers of the tax free market in 2018, with the first accounting for one-third of all spending. Purchases valued at 2,000 euros or more performed best in 2018 and transactions exceeding 5,000 euros rose by 31 percent.

Global Blue Hellas analysts noted that Greece stands to gain a 15 percent increase in tax free revenue following Brexit, as UK nationals are second in terms of transactions.

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