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Tax Free Shopping in Greece Gains Momentum

Increasing tourist flows and a new lower limit – 50 euros from 120 euros – for tax free purchases boosted tax free shopping in Greece by 44 percent in the first seven months of the year compared to 2016, according to refund company Global Blue.

The Switzerland-based firm found that total sales in the January-July 2017 period increased by 44.2 percent compared to the corresponding period of 2016, which was down by 3.93 percent. Sales in July rose by 60 percent compared to July 2016.

The data revealed that the number of tax free sales to Israel nationals grew by 109.7 percent in the first seven months with the Chinese driving the market.

Average spending was up by 5 percent with the number of sales to Chinese travelers up by 7.2 percent and to Lebanese tourists by 9.2 percent, offsetting the slowdown in average spending per transaction by Russians, down by 11.3 percent, and by Egyptians decreased by 9.3 percent. Average spending, according to Global Blue, is at about 450 euros with the Chinese spending some 700 euros on buys.

The report also found that tax free shopping expanded to lesser known destinations across the country. Indicatively, tax free sales in Thessaly and the Sporades soared in July, up by 750.7 percent compared to July 2016, as well as in the North Aegean Region marking a rise of 575.1 percent.

Little Venice, Mykonos Island.

Tax free transactions in popular destinations such as Mykonos surged by 112 percent, on the Dodecanese isles by 148.2 percent, on the Ionian islands by 156 percent and across the smaller islands of the Cyclades by 158.2 percent.
Thrace also saw a rise of 96.4 percent in July, Epirus and Peloponnese by 60 percent while Santorini and Macedonia recorded a 50 percent increase. A smaller increase was recorded on Crete at 32.6 percent and in Central Greece by 46 percent.

Manthos Dimipoulos, managing director at Global Blue Greece, is optimistic that the momentum will continue into 2017 and told Naftemporiki daily that he expects the number of tax free transactions to exceed the 43 percent target compared to 2016.

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