Hundreds of tourism enterprises in Greece will be able to benefit from a 3.5-billion-euro set of liquidity measures announced by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Friday, aimed at easing the burden posed by Covid-19.
Speaking in parliament, Mitsotakis announced the measures, which include slashing an advance tax paid by seasonal businesses such as tourism enterprises.
Seasonal businesses recording 50 percent of their turnover in the third quarter of the year will be exempt of paying the levy. All tourism businesses will not be required to pay the tax in 2020, while the self-employed will pay half of the advance tax.
The Greek prime minister acknowledged that the “dramatic” impact of Covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions will be felt most in the second and third quarters, adding that the government was looking into ways to mitigate the repercussions as much as possible.
“The government will not leave anyone uncovered,” he said adding that the top priority in the unprecedented aftermath of of Covid-19 was to guarantee that all jobs were safe.
The tax relief measures, Mitsotakis said, are primarily targeted at businesses that lost more than 35 percent of their turnover in the first half of the year.
The Greek prime minister also extended the period that all tourism operations can suspend contracts for their employees whereby their wages will be covered by the government’s subsidy program on the condition that they are re-hired.
Earlier this week, Greek hoteliers had called on the government to introduce liquidity measures so that they can continue running their businesses despite the sharp decline in arrivals due to Covid-19.
The Greek hospitality industry is one of the hardest hit by Covid-19 with hotelier associations expecting occupancy levels to reach no more than 30 percent this year, while hundreds of hotels across the country have opted to remain closed.
Other tax breaks announced include:
– A third round of returnable deposits based on turnover recorded in June, July, and August for companies without employees. The liquidity injection concerns 7,000 tourism enterprises will receive a refund in advance next week,
– The state will continue to subsidize 60 percent of all employer contributions under the Syn-ergasia job retention program which is extended to include August, September, and October,
– Seasonal businesses – the majority of which are tourism-related – will not be required to pay contributions for July, August and September.
Greek Tourism Confederation President Yiannis Retsos welcomed the measures as a positive step.
“Since the beginning of the crisis, SETE has argued that close cooperation with the state is needed to address the enormous problems that have arisen. Today’s announcements are very positive,” he said via his twitter account.