Recent data showed that incoming tourism to Greece increased last year (10 percent increase in arrivals and revenue) but nothing guarantees that the same will happen in 2012, the general director of the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE), George Drakopoulos, said at the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce’s 22nd Greek Economy Conference “The Time for Responsibility, Decisions & Action” that took place in Athens in mid-December.
During his presentation, Mr. Drakopoulos stressed that the answer to the query “Will 2012 will be a good year for tourism?” remains a question mark.
“It all depends on whether we make a good effort and if we are able to coordinate all the ministries involved directly and indirectly in the production and distribution of the tourism product,” he said.
More specifically, SETE’s general director referred to the “must do” list that includes pending issues of nine ministries in the area of tourism. The association’s president, Andreas Andreadis, announced the list last December.
Via slideshow, Mr. Drakopoulos went through each obligation one by one and underlined that the association would review each ministry’s progress in March 2012. The results are to be made public.
“Most of these issues have been agreed on and all have been discussed and there is no more time for meaningless and time consuming consultations,” he said.
“Must Do” List
Ministry of Culture and Tourism
- Combat red tape in tourist accommodation
- Set up GNTO-SETE joint marketing company
- Upgrade museums-archaeological sites, extend opening hours
- Announce specifications for complex tourist accommodation
- Resolve TV and music copyright issues (hotels)
Ministry of Finance
- VAT reduction on total travel package to 6.5 percent
- VAT reduction on food services to 13 percent
- Reduction of Athens International Airport charges and fees by 50 percent
- Establishment of a stable tax framework
Ministry of Labor and Social Security
- Implementation of electronic business card and obligatory payment of contributions through banking payroll (with 10 percent reduction in insurance premiums)
- Flexible working relationships
Ministry of Development, Competitiveness and Shipping
- Full lifting of cabotage restrictions in cruise sector
- New institutional framework for Greek ports and marinas
- New institutional framework for coastal shipping
- Review of investment law on tourism
Ministry of Infrastructure, Transport and Networks
- Full liberalization of taxis, trucks, KTEL buses
- Aviation policy for tourism
Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change
- Completion of special zoning plan for tourism
Ministry of Citizen Protection
- Creation of reception centers for illegal immigrants/repatriation process
- Establishment of asylum committee
- Tackling of hooded vandals phenomena
- Management of demonstrations/gatherings
- Action against road blockades and closures of airports, ports, archaeological sites, hotels
Ministry of Education, Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs
- Upgrade tourism education
- Establish the week of Clean Monday as a school week break (to support domestic tourism)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Approval of Shengen visas within 48 hours
- Overcome problems in new markets (Ukraine, China, India)
- Automatic granting of multiple visas to buyers of high value residences