The tourism sector, Greece’s strongest foreign currency attractor, is ringing alarm bells that the rise in value added tax to 24 percent — which was agreed on earlier today — will have a negative impact on incoming tourism for 2016.
According to central bank figures release earlier today, in 2015 Greece posted a current account deficit of 7.5 million euros thanks to increased tourism revenues.
The president of the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE), representing more than 50,000 tourism-related businesses, has repeatedly stressed that overtaxation will handicap Greece’s competitiveness and warned that the insecurity due to the constantly changing economic environment is impacting the smooth operation of tourism enterprises and turning away foreign investments.
“The main obstacle to competitiveness of the sector is overtaxation of tourism,” he said in his address to the General Assembly of the Association of Cyprus Tourist Enterprises (ACTE) on Tuesday, referring to the example of Cyprus, where efforts are being made to lower the tax from 9 percent to 8 percent in efforts to attract tourism.
In the meantime, the Bank of Greece said today that tourism revenues dropped to 134 million euros from 143 million in the same month a year earlier.
At the same time, Andreadis called on the government to take measures in view of the ongoing refugee influx to ensure the proper functioning of local communities and tourist destinations so that the quality of tourist services does not deteriorate.