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Greece Raises Social Tourism Subsidy to Boost Domestic Travel

In an attempt to boost domestic travel and revive tourism after the impact of Covid-19, the Greek Labor Ministry announced that it would be increasing the social tourism subsidy this year covering for the first time ferry fares for eligible Greek recipients.

More specifically, according to Labor Minister Yiannis Vroutsis, the government has decided to triple the budget for the 2020-2021 social tourism program from 10 million euros to 30 million euros.

The tourism subsidy scheme to run through Greece’s Manpower Employment Organization (OAED) takes effect on August 1.

Last year’s program, which ends on 1 July 2020, has been extended to cover holidays for an additional 113,000 beneficiaries who can use checks through to 31 October 2020.

This year’s program will go out to 300,000 people up from 140,000 last year and the additional ferry fare coverage is aimed at stimulating travel particularly to the Greek islands.

OAED is expected to cover a larger part of the accommodation cost compared to last year thus reducing recipients’ share.

Additional changes this year include support for accommodation at 2- to 5-star hotels breakfast included; increased number of overnight stays; extra incentives for travel to the islands of Lesvos, Leros, Samos, Chios and Kos, and to the border region of Evros; and full coverage to people with disability.

Domestic tourism, especially at this given time, is the ‘oxygen’ stimulating tourism activity for businesses that can be achieved by strengthening the social tourism program,” said Vroutsis.

According to the 2020-2021 program, OAED will cover 81 percent of all travel costs leaving 19 percent to the beneficiaries. Indicatively, under the revised program a one-week holiday for a four-member family (two children under 10) to an island destination for six nights at a 3-star hotel, breakfast included, will be covered as follows by OAED: 600 euros for accommodation and 55 euros roundtrip ferry fare.

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About the Author
Chicago-born and raised, Maria Paravantes has over two decades of journalistic experience covering tourism and travel, gastronomy, arts, music and culture, economy and finance, politics, health and social issues for international press and media. She has worked for Reuters, The Telegraph, Huffington Post, Billboard Magazine, Time Out Athens, the Athens News, Odyssey Magazine and, among others. She has also served as Special Advisor to Greece’s minister of Foreign Affairs, and to the mayor of Athens on international press and media issues. Maria is currently a reporter, content and features writer for GTP Headlines.

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