Greece may record losses in tourism over the next two years, the president of the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE), Andreas Andreadis, said on Thursday during the 24th annual general assembly of SETE in Athens.
“We are moving on the edge and are in danger of not only failing to achieve the new goal but also dropping below the figures of 2015… The losses will emerge gradually and not immediately”, Mr Andreadis said during his opening speech.
For this year, SETE’s initial forecast was positive, with 1.5 million more arrivals, reaching 25 million, plus 2.5 million cruise arrivals. Tourism revenue was estimated to reach 15 billion euros, up by 800 million euros compared to 2015.
Mr Andreadis repeated the tourism sector’s calls for the completion of the first evaluation of the Greek program.
“For as long as it is delayed, the government will impose sudden and additional measures”, he said, adding that additional taxes will be imposed if the fiscal targets are not met, resulting to the rising of the price of the Greek tourist package.
Mr Andreadis stressed that Greece has already noted huge losses in tourism competitiveness of around 10 percent, due to the taxes of the third memorandum.
Greek PM bets that 2016 will be record year for tourism
When referring to the so-called “occupancy tax”, a new levy rumored to be charged on Greek accommodation this year, he said it was “outrageous” and “totally absurd”, adding that it would be a “tombstone” for tourism businesses.
However, during his speech, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said that the government managed to delay the introduction of the extra hotel levy measure for 2018 despite the insistence of lenders. He also said the country’s creditors wanted the highest VAT rate (23 percent) imposed on the hospitality sector, something he claimed was avoided through negotiation.
During his speech, the Greek PM said that he fully shared the concern of the hotel industry, but stressed that measures must be taken and that all must do their part.
Mr Tsipras then invited SETE’s president to “make a bet” that Greek tourism this year will reach record levels.
“You are not on the edge. Already, you have a 10 percent increase in bookings. I bet you that 2016 will be another record year”, he said to Mr Andreadis.