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SETE Moderately Optimistic on 2016 Greece Tourism Outlook

SETE President Andreas Andreadis.

SETE President Andreas Andreadis. Photo: GTP

The president of the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE), Andreas Andreadis, is moderately optimistic about the 2016 tourism season in Greece.

While addressing journalists at a media briefing on Wednesday, SETE’s president informed that initial data shows an increase of five percent in the number of airline seats on offer for 2016 compared to the 2014 forecast for the 2015 season. The increase corresponds to 800,000 additional airline seats from all markets except Russia which is still marked by instability.

However, he said that the data must be processed further and did not make a clear prediction on next year’s international tourist arrivals.

“At the moment it is difficult to make a forecast for 2016,” he said and described the coming year as “particularly decisive” for the country’s tourism industry and economy due to a number of external factors that have sector professionals on alert.

These external factors include the international concern of new terrorist attacks, particularly in transport, the strained relations between Russia and Turkey and the management of the refugee crisis.

Another important factor is the new procedure for issuing biometric Schengen visas for travellers of important markets, such as Russia, India and China. “This is a new process in which our public services must adapt to urgently as we are already behind”, SETE’s president said in regards to the new procedure.

When referring to internal issues considered crucial for tourism and that “deserve special attention”, Mr Andreadis stressed that the reforms agreed with international creditors must be carried out.

On the handling of non-performing loans (red loans) by Greek banks, he called for companies to be allowed to restructure their debts on terms compatible with international financial standards in order for them to restart on a healthy basis.

On the bright side, Mr Andreadis underlined that the euro exchange rate, the low price of oil and the ceaseless collective efforts of companies and workers would have a positive effect on next year’s tourism.

Referring to 2015, he underlined that despite capital controls in the summer, Greek tourism was on track to end the year with a record of 26 million international arrivals and 14.5 billion euros in direct revenues, boosting GDP by an additional unit.

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