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Key Tourism Figures 2016: George Vernicos, President Economic and Social Council of Greece

George VernikosOfficial Tourism Message

Today it is more imperative than ever to highlight and convincingly support the proper solutions that will benefit democracy, development and social solidarity in Greece. And that’s what Economic and Social Council of Greece (ESC) is all about. As advocates of social dialogue, all our social partners know that their real duty is to look for and highlight the policies which will boost -in the medium and long term- the recovery of the Greek economy. And of course, one certain path in succeeding, is supporting traditional pillars such as tourism and leading them to further development.

Greek tourism is one of the few national economy sectors that despite the difficult period of crisis and the general uncertainty raised, -including the consequences brought by the refugee issue-, remained globally competitive. This fact proves that it can be the driving force for our economic restructuring, growth and exit from recession. In a competitive world that radically changes every day, we must guarantee that our tourism model constantly adapts, innovates and creates added value for the economy, the employment and the local communities.

Some of the suggested measures that the state needs to immediately put in effect in order to strengthen the Greek tourism product are:
• Make SMEs more outward looking
• Help companies facing intense competition reorganize
• Promote the creation of new tourism businesses
• Identify competitive sources of financing for SMEs
• Promote innovation and hi tech in tourism
• Formulate policies regarding tax reliefs in the whole sector

ESC of Greece, true to its constitutional role, will soon publish an Opinion concerning propositions and measures on Greece’s way to sustainable development, which will include the tourism sector. Meanwhile, in order for the whole society to reach the best possible consensus and decisions, we call for our members, the parliament and the government to hold an open dialogue with each other about all relevant issues. That’s the only indisputable way to turn recommendations and ideas into effective and applicable policies.

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