Incoming road tourism from Greece’s neighboring countries accounted for 9.6 million arrivals, 38.2 million overnight stays and 1.8 billion euros in revenue in 2019, according to data released by INSETE, the Greek Tourism Confederation’s (SETE) research body.
More specifically, inbound tourism by road accounted for 30.6 percent of all arrivals to Greece in 2019, 16.4 percent of overnight stays, and 10.1 percent of travel receipts.
For the most part, in 2019 travelers from Greece’s neighbors Bulgaria, Albania, North Macedonia and Turkey, as well as from Romania and Serbia, supported inbound road tourism, which is an important revenue-generator for the northern Greece regions of Thrace, Macedonia and Epirus.
However, tourists choosing to visit Greece by road, the INSETE study found, spend less at 185 euros per person compared to the 731-euro overall average and 564 euros for all incoming tourism.
INSETE cites shorter stays at 4.0 nights against 8.9 and 7.4, respectively as well as low spending per night at 47 euros compared to 82 euros and 76 euros, respectively.
In terms of spending, travelers from Romania spent the most in 2019 at 354 million euros, followed by Serbia (297 million euros) and Bulgaria (282 million euros).
Bulgaria and Romania also stood out with a higher number of overnight stays in 2019 (8.2 million and 7.0 million, respectively) with Serbs spending an average 318 euros per person and Romanians 311 euros.
With regard to season, INSETE found that travelers by road prefer to visit in the third quarter of the year, with 67 percent of all revenues generated in that trimester compared to 59 percent for all travel.
INSETE analysts conclude, that given the current Covid-19 restrictions and measures, the opening of Greece’s borders to the mainland can boost incoming arrivals and held the sector gain lost ground.
Meanwhile, in January this year, before the outbreak of Covid-19, the number of arrivals by road to Greece had increased by 35.6 percent to 625,600 compared to 462,000 in the same month a year earlier.