Tourism industry professionals in Greece are expressing concerns ahead of Sunday’s general elections as fears grow that should the leftist Syriza party come to power, it will hinder progress made in the sector in the past year.
According to a feature in the New York Times, Syriza’s leader Alexis Tsipras wants to do away with the all-inclusive resort model and replace it with a new scheme that will not “alienate tourism from the local economy”.
Syriza has added that it will reopen running privatization deals, which may also include deals to sell public land to resort developers and a plan to privatize 14 local airports serving Greek cities and islands.
A major driving force of the Greek economy, tourism bore the brunt of the economic crisis that has plagued Greece for the past five years, but made an impressive comeback last year with a record 21.5 million arrivals.
Besides changes to the country’s tourism policy, Tsipras has said he will attempt to renegotiate austerity measures imposed by Greece’s international lenders.
The conservative New Democracy party, which has not commented on its tourism plan, has in the past proposed to double the value-added tax (VAT) on hotel accommodations to 13 percent from 6.5 percent.
Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni was quoted by the NYT as saying: “We need to be taking initiatives that reinforce tourism and not measures that stop it.”
To read the whole NYT article, press here.