The numbers of late bookings to Greece are bouncing back, slowly but steadily, the general manager of the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE), Alexandros Lamnidis, said in an interview with CNBC’s “Power Lunch” on Tuesday.
Late bookings, which account for 20 percent of total visitors in Greece, were dropping over the past month, once the July 5 referendum was announced in late June.
According to Mr. Lamnidis, despite the political turmoil, the Greek travel industry has been going strong this year. “We are 6.7 percent up over the past six months, January to June… So it seems like we are an attractive destination”, he added.
During the interview, it was pointed out by serial investor and entrepreneur Marcus Lemonis that expected tax hikes will most likely keep visitors away as “people considering taking a trip to Greece are probably going to cancel or postpone based on the uncertainty.”
The tax hikes (which include increase in the value added tax (VAT) for restaurants and hotels) are among a series of tough reforms Greece has agreed to implement in return for a three-year multi-billion euro bailout.
“We are concerned, we are planning ahead but we are rather optimistic that we shall overcome,” SETE’s general manager said.
“Tourism is the main industry of the country, and we cannot afford to lose our competitive edge and we’re not going to.”