In order for Greece to tap into the vast potential of coastal and marine tourism, collect the gains and further invest in sustainable growth, the government must draw up a clear and well-researched strategy that will ensure transparency across all activities and will involve local communities and at the same time simplify procedures, said George Vernicos, president of the Economic and Social Council of Greece.
Speaking to reporter.gr, Vernicos, who is also general secretary of the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE), stressed the need for a comprehensive plan that will tackle unfair competition, particularly with regard to non-EU countries and flags.
He also pointed to the constantly changing tax framework, which he says is turning away investors while underlining the need to create policies covering shipbuilding and repair as well as for the purchase and management of professional vessels.
Referring to the ongoing privatization of marinas,Vernicos said that provisions should be made for professional vessels as well as setting terms for the legitimate activity of mega-yachts regardless of flag.
Vernicos, also owner of Vernicos Yachts, was quick to point out that measures must be taken to reduce bureaucracy while addressing illegal chartering practices. In this direction it is vital to set up an electronic register of vessels.
With regard to cruise tourism, he underlined the need for targeted actions that will involve towns and islands welcoming incoming cruise travelers enhancing their overall experience through cultural activities.
At the same time, Vernicos expressed his optimism with regard to an increase in chartering activity, adding that in the coming years there will be significant changes in yachting due to technological developments.
On a final note, Vernicos pointed to the “unfair taxation” of 12-meter boats for professional use. This, he said, will have negative repercussions on recreational vessel owners.