Prior to the elections of September 20, the leftist Syriza party said that if elected, it would introduce a tourism policy in Greece that will include a fair tax system, the establishment of a Tourism Chamber, support to domestic production and assistance to the sector’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Sunday’s elections saw Alexis Tsipras’ Syriza party elected by the Greek people for a second time in less than nine months.
According to the announced tourism policy, Syriza’s top priority will be to develop and further improve the current tourism model with the country’s tourism SMEs forming the backbone of the industry, “but in a modernized form and with greater awareness of their obligations towards the state, the environment and society.
“The country must not be converted into a tourism colony, where a large number of tourists will stay isolated from the local population in ‘tourist villages’ and where the main components of the country’s tourism product will be imported at the expense of domestic production”, Syriza noted.
Syriza said that its tourism policy will include a new “stable, fair, redistributive and progressive tax system”, which will combat tax fraud, tax evasion and corruption. The policy also mentions that the VAT rates of enterprises directly or indirectly related to tourism will be reviewed.
The policy also refers to the establishment of a Tourism Chamber — or conversion of the existing Hotel Chamber into a Tourism Chamber — that will cooperate with all levels of local government and authorities associated with tourism.
Furthermore, Syriza said it would see to the codification of tourism legislation; implement a reliable program to utilize public tourist properties that until now stand abandoned and obsolete; redesign the country’s vocational tourism education system; develop and launch the Tourism Satellite Account which will provide accurate data for inbound and outbound tourism in Greece; and establish a framework to develop more social tourism programs for the benefit of the country’s crisis-affected populations.
Syriza’s tourism policy also sees a “restructured and powerful” Greek National Tourism Organization, capable of promoting Greece successfully.
The policy also includes measures of support for tourism sector on the Greek islands that include the modernization of tourism businesses through EU funds, the development of alternative forms of tourism (such as ecotourism, cultural tourism, religious tourism, diving tourism) based on each destination’s natural and cultural resources, the support of cruise routes linking the islands with small cruise ships and the strengthening of the presence of local products in each island’s tourism offering.