The Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) on Friday notified Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on 10 targeted actions needed to restart and support the country’s tourism sector – “a key pillar of the Greek economy” – after the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis.
Signed by SETE President Yiannis Retsos, the confederation’s official letter followed the PM’s video conference on Thursday which focused on ways to help the sector recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to SETE, 10 steps need to be taken in order for tourism to be able to recover from the health crisis:
1. Tourism “Restart plan” – According to SETE, a common line on tourism and transport must be followed on a European level. “It will be impossible for tourism and transportation to operate without common European protocols for controlled health travel.”
2. A targeted promotional campaign for Greece based on the cooperation between the Tourism Ministry, the Greek National Tourism Organization and Marketing Greece. The confederation reminded of the already successful cooperation, that included the input of the government’s chief creative officer, Steve Vranakis, succeeded with the launched “Greece from Home” initiative.
3. Reduction of the value-added tax (VAT) on accommodation to 6 percent, the food sector (F&B, restaurants, etc) to 13 percent, the travel package services to 13 percent, domestic transport to 13 percent and maritime tourism to remain as is at 12 percent. SETE proposes for the VAT cuts to begin on June 1 and to remain reduced for as long as the sector needs to recover.
4. Subsidy programs for businesses and their employees, starting from when the economy restarts and for the whole of 2020. SETE brought as an example the short-time work subsidy scheme of Germany known as Kurzarbeit. Also, according to SETE, many seasonal hotels are expected to not be operate this year, which will leave some 700,000 tourism workers unemployed. “So we need a safety net and an expansion of the unemployment fund.”
5. Non-payment of advance payments for income tax 2020.
6. Suspension of the stayover tax charged to hotel guests, for 2020.
7. Support for the liquidity of companies, similar to the aid scheme that has been announced (guarantees of up to 2 billion euros from the Hellenic Development Bank) and the interest-free loans under the Entrepreneurship Fund – TEPIX up to the amount of 500,000 euros per business. “It is crucial that all opportunities for similar funding be examines, both on a national and international level, because the needed liquidity for a restart will be enormous.”
8. Suspension of loan payments for the remaining months of 2020 and their transfer to the end of the loan term with a one-year extension.
9. Restoration of the NSRF (National Strategic Reference Framework) with the possibility of subsidizing selected investments in construction, technology and services, for all business sizes.
10. Special charges for the air transport sector (airlines, airports, ground service, etc.) for the 2020-2021 period. In regards to Greece’s airports, SETE has requested that the funds that the state receives annually from concession contracts to be examined and / or extended in order to ensure their viability and also increase the sector’s competitiveness for a specific recovery period. “For this request, we will present a mutually agreed proposal, which will have been discussed and agreed on between SETE’s members that represent the aviation sector.”
Press here for a review of the Greek tourism sector amid Covid-19 as given by SETE.