Passenger ferry services should be designated as “emergency services” and therefore charged with a reduced Value Added Tax rate, the Association of Greek Passenger Shipping Companies (SEEN) said in a letter to Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis on Monday.
The increase of VAT rates is included in the government’s negotiations with international creditors.
According to SEEN, Greek passenger shipping companies are currently facing serious financial problems due to accumulated losses from 2009 that exceed 1.2 billion euros. “A possible increase in tax rates would result to an increase of transport costs for passengers while at the same time traffic will drop”, it is mentioned in the letter.
The association added that the contribution of passenger ferry services to the country’s economy is huge, considering that 65 percent of passengers are transported by ferries for tourism purposes.
“Passenger shipping is the factor which the development of islands and the protection of national interests almost exclusively depend on.”