The shipping and tourism industries are voicing their concerns over a proposed charge to be imposed on recreational vessels as discussed in a draft bill tabled by the Shipping and Island Policy Ministry in parliament this week.
According to the Greek Marinas Association (GMA) and Greek vessel manufacturers, the new proposal is indirectly encouraging vessels to moor for winter at other European ports so as to avoid paying the levy in Greece and then to visit and get a 20 percent discount (as foreseen by the draft bill). They added that it will hinder any potential growth of the industry.
The GMA says the charge is “unacceptable” and will discourage vessels from sailing to Greece while turning away those which still choose Greece for permanent mooring.
”Instead of consulting with the tourism ministry to provide incentives towards attracting foreign yachts and high quality tourism which could bring enormous benefits to the troubled Greek economy, this bill includes new ineffective provisions on how to implement the charge, which will lead to even more insecurity and uncertainty for Greek and foreign boat owners already moored in our country, while at the same time turn away thousands of foreign vessels wishing to visit in the coming season,’’ the GMA said.
Indicatively, the charges range from 16 euros per month for 7-8 meter vessels and reach 33 euros a month for those measuring 10-12 meter with a 20 percent discount extended to recreational vessels and professional tourist boats. The bill also foresees a 20 percent discount for vessels exceeding 12 meters which have moored at EU member state ports within the year.
In the meantime, the Greek Shipowners Association For Passenger Ships (SEEN) also expressed is dissatisfaction with the said bill, calling on the ministry “to withdraw the draft and proceed with a meaningful discussion about the reasons and motives behind the proposal in order to identify any weaknesses.”