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Tax Breaks Can Ensure Year-round Tourism for Greece, Says Aegean Airlines Head

Eftychios Vassilakis, president of national carrier Aegean Airlines.

Eftychios Vassilakis, president of national carrier Aegean Airlines.

Lowering tax demands and insurance contributions can be an effective incentive to strengthen tourism-related enterprises and tackle the problem of seasonality in the sector, said Eftychios Vassilakis, president of national carrier Aegean Airlines during a closed session of the Greek Tourism Confederation’s (SETE) 26th General Assembly in Athens on Thursday.

Vassilakis underlined that in order to ensure tourism all year round, it goes without saying that enterprises must be relieved of tax burdens which have increased in size and number over the years.

The head of Aegean went on to note that once the issue of taxation is addressed, social security and health insurance contributions must also be slashed in order for there to be “social balance and the fair distribution of the benefits of growth”. Vassilakis referred to the reduction of a hefty 45 percent taxation rate and a 6-10 percent special contribution levy.

“Young employees on all levels are working to pay for the past and not for the future,” he said, adding that tourism ventures have increased staffing needs which cannot be met if social security contributions are extremely high, taking a toll on both employment and growth.

“It is therefore, very important that this be a common, first priority in the taxation policies of all employers’ unions for the coming years, as it will have multiple benefits on growth and competitiveness, as well as on social equilibrium and prosperity,” he said.

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