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Greek Tourism Body Chief Says ‘Time is Ripe’ for Structural Changes

Hellenic Parliament, Athens. Photo © Maria Theofanopoulou

Securing the competitiveness of the Greek tourism product through a series of measures key of which is reducing VAT on accommodation, food & beverages, and transport, is the top priority for the year ahead, said Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) President Yiannis Retsos.

In a message for the new year, Retsos underlined the importance of formulating a targeted development plan that will finally and permanently address open issues that have plagued the sector, including slashing VAT, abolishing a controversial stayover tax, regulating the short-term Airbnb-style rental market, and drawing up an investment-friendly spatial planning framework.

SETE President Yiannis Retsos

“The end of the year finds the country in a state of reserved optimism. It is a fact that the prolonged crisis period is over and the foundations that will lead to a stable, sustainable, growth-related phase are in place,” said Retsos.

“In this effort, tourism continues to be resilient and remains a key productive pillar of the country. At the same time, however, Greece is now one of the major tourist destinations internationally, raising the bar and expectations,” said Retsos, particularly in view of forecasts from TUI Germany that Greece is among the top holiday destinations for German travelers in 2020.

According to central bank data, Greece welcomed 3.9 million German visitors in the first 10 months of 2019.

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