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Tourism Boosts Greece’s Economic Growth in Q3, Says NBG

Data on Greece’s GDP in the third quarter of 2019 shows that the country’s economic activity grew stronger than initially expected, mainly due to tourism and the exports of goods.

According to data from the National Bank of Greece (NBG), the GDP growth in the third quarter of the year was led by a 14.5 percent increase in exported services due to the tourism sector.

“The strong performance of Q3 reflects the growing contribution of the tourism sector, which is estimated to have led to an increase in exported services by 14.5 percent on a year-over-year basis (fixed prices, contributing 2.2 percentage points to the annual increase in GDP for Q3) and by 10.8 percent per annum in the nine-month period, far exceeding initially moderate expectations for this year’s tourist season,” NBG said.

Moreover, NBG said that Greece’s strong tourism activity, coupled with the positive performance of the maritime sector, led the contribution of exported services and total exports to GDP to new record highs of 17.1 percent and 36.4 percent, respectively, in the year’s third quarter.

“The performance of the first nine months of 2019 remains remarkable, as it took place during a period of weak financial performance in key markets for the Greek tourism product and increased price competition mainly from Turkey,” NGB said, adding that the upward trend in tourism could be even stronger if it was not accompanied by a prolonged period of weak demand for domestic tourism, which partially offsets the potential value-added dynamics of incoming tourism.

Tourism revenue

In regards to travel receipts, NBG referred to a 14.6 percent year-on-year increase in the third quarter and a 14.2 percent year-on-year rise in the nine-month 2019 period, registering a new historical high of 15.7 billion euros or 8.3 percent of GDP in the nine-month period. International arrivals rose by 6.3 percent year-on-year in the third quarter and by 3.8 percent year-on-year in the nine-month 2019 period.

“These trends suggest that the contribution of incoming tourism to macroeconomic performance has been further enhanced, with indirect positive effects spreading across a growing range of sectors of economic activity,” NBG noted.

According to NBG, double-digit growth rates in Greece’s tourism revenue in the first nine months of 2019 (and mainly in the third quarter) were recorded by markets with relatively high levels of income and relative average expenditure, such as those in the EU (13.6 percent increase) and the US (16.6 percent increase), but also other high-income countries outside the EU (15.6 percent increase).

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