Tourism professionals on the islands of Kos and Lesvos, bearing the brunt of the increasing refugee flows from neighboring Turkey, are calling on the government to scrap an imminent “stayover” tax set to take effect next month within Greece’s bailout requirements approved in May.
Municipal and tourism authorities on Kos have announced plans to go on strike Tuesday, protesting the implementation of the tax and describing the abolition of the current reduced VAT rates on the islands as “disastrous and criminal”. Besides the migrant flows and the relevant consequences, the islanders are citing the damage caused by the July 21 earthquake.
The hoteliers of Lesvos meanwhile, have sent Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras a letter in which they request that the special tax status in effect on the islands before September 2017 be retained and the new stayover tax on the North Aegean Region islands affected by the migrant crisis be withdrawn.
Tourism professionals are adamant that the said levy will result in losses from increasing prices which will either be passed to consumers or indirectly absorbed by accommodation facilities, inevitably leading to dropping demand and endangering the competitiveness of Greece’s tourism product.
In their letter, Lesvos’ hoteliers are demanding that the affected islands be excluded from the new levy and underline that VAT rates – should they be increased – should be carried out gradually.