Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis on Friday called on MPs to approve a revised regulatory framework covering details with regard to the UK’s exit on January 31 from the EU, stressing the importance of the British market for tourism and Greece’s economy.
“In 2019, visitors to Greece from the UK boosted our national economy by more than 2 billion euros, exceeding 1 percent of the country’s GDP,” said Theoharis, adding that measures required to deal with Brexit are “extremely complex” as well as and sensitive.
“It is evident therefore, that the British market is one of the biggest tourist resources for our country. Britons are generally in the top three source [markets] of foreign visitors coming to Greece” Theoharis said.
The minister went on to add that the British market is “the second most lucrative source of tourist income for Greece”, highlighting in the meantime ministry efforts to address any possible backlash from Brexit and to ensure the smoothest transition.
Among others the bill regulates tourism business activities (Article 6) run by British citizens or legal entities based in the UK, as well as other issues including the revision of the European Union Visa Regulation which allows British citizens to visit member states visa-free for tourist purposes for 90 days within a 180-day period, and to rent vehicles in Greece.
At the same time, British tourism-related businesses – travel agencies, car and motorbike rental firms – are given time to adjust to Brexit.
Theoharis concluded that EU officials may have found a way to resolve the issue of British businesses in Greece before the Brexit deadline.