Key Tourism Figures 2019: Michael Sakellis, President, Association of Greek Passenger Shipping Companies
During the 2009-2014 crisis period we encountered an additional heavy crisis due to traffic reduction by 20 percent and bunkers cost increase by almost 100 percent
Once again we must emphasize the great importance passenger shipping has on the protection of our national interests and the development, not only of our islands, but also of the country.
The 75 percent of our incoming tourists (over 20 million) are visiting the islands. Also, domestic tourism, which is a very important factor for our islands’ economy, is served almost exclusively by passenger ships.
Regarding commercial transports, some 9 million tons of commodities, materials and food stuff are carried by passenger ships every year, covering 85 percent of the needs of the local communities. The remaining 15 percent is covered by small commercial vessels.
...Unless we take the necessary steps, this new crisis will definitely negatively influence the services rendered to the Greek Islands.....
Our vessels serve 95 islands (70 served exclusively by sea). Passenger shipping contributes with 16.1 billion euros (9.2 percent of GDP) whilst it supports the tourism employment of the Greek islands.
During the 2009-2014 crisis period we encountered an additional heavy crisis due to traffic reduction by 20 percent and bunkers cost increase by almost 100 percent.
In 2018 the volume of traffic almost reached the 2009 level (18.5 million passengers) but unfortunately bunkers prices have increased by 70 percent since 2016. In addition, and as a result of the new environmental rules we are expecting a further increase by 30 percent as of January 1, 2020.
Unless we take the necessary steps, this new crisis will definitely negatively influence the services rendered to the Greek Islands as well as to the Greece – Italy lines.
We believe that the only solution is a VAT reduction.
At the same time, the European funds available for new environmentally-friendly ships must be increased in order to support the necessary investments for the renewal of our fleet.