Officials concerned that reality might not live up to highly optimistic forecasts
The Greek tourism high season is set to start soon and expectations are very high. The sector, after all, has been one of the few in the Greek economy to show signs of health. After last year’s record figures, the tourism industry had been bracing for further growth. These expecations, however, seem to be highly undermined by the wave of new austerity measures that are bound to be applied on the sector.
This stark realization cast a dark shadow on the annual meeting of the Association of Hellenic Tourism Enterprises. Addressing the members of the Association, its president, Andreas Andreadis, issued a warning for anyone involved to prepare for the effects of the new wave of heavy taxation set to be imposed on tourism.
The tourism industry is also bound to experience the consequences of the delays in the bailout review that has – once again – put the Greek economy on hold. Greece’s creditors are adamant on a new set of austerity measures to be imposed as a prerequisite for the review and the effects will be felt throughout the economical spectrum.
Among the measures that are specifically targeted to the hospitality and tourism sector are increases in the cost of accomodation, , food service, soft and alcoholic beverages, museum tickets and a series of basic products and services that will make package holidays more expensive. Furthermore, PM Alexis Tsipras already announced the imposition of an “stayover levy” to be introduced in hotel bookings from 2018.
Given that the tax burden included in the third bailout agreement has already hit the industry, signaling a decline of up to 10 per cent, these new measures are believed as presnting a new threat to the sector. According to the Association, 40 per cent of accomodation units are already struggling for survival and the need for the banks to effectively assist the healthier among them is crucial.