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European Commission Offers Suggestions For Greek Tourism

European Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship Antonio Tajani recently underlined the importance of providing support to small and medium-sized Greek enterprises (SMEs) in the tourism sector.

Speaking at the conference “Growth in Greece: SMEs and Entrepreneurship in the Europe 2020 strategy” in Athens, Mr. Tajani expressed his confidence that Greece would emerge from the crisis.

The European Commissioner noted that tourism and agritourism were two areas that need to be focused on for development, as they would bring synergies to other sectors.

On his part, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso advised Greeks to make use of the country’s dynamic “as a tourism and cultural destination.”

According to the European Commission’s position, it is important to quickly set up the strategy to investigate and develop more synergies between culture, tourism, entrepreneurship, gastronomy, etc.

The European Commission’s president identified four guidelines for the development of tourism in Greece.

He focused firstly on the need to increase the tourism demand, which could be succeeded with an extension of the tourism season and an increase of arrivals (mostly from countries outside the EU).

Secondly, Mr. Barosso mentioned that Greece should increase awareness and the promotion of its destinations.

The European Commission president’s third “guideline” is the creation of a platform to exchange best practices such as a Tourism Advisory Committee.

Mr. Barosso’s fourth instruction is the diversification of tourism products and the improvement of the service quality to attract tourists of higher income.

However, according to the press, the Greek tourism industry may have to brace itself for a further “blow” since Greece’s lenders, also known as the “troika,” will supposedly make changes to the VAT rate on tourism enterprises. Two scenarios have allegedly been considered.

One scenario sees the abolition of the low VAT rate of 6.5 percent imposed on specific sectors and products and for the 13 percent rate to apply.

The second scenario sees to apply a single VAT rate of 19 to 21 percent on all products that translates to a major increase in prices of many products and services.

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