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Greek Travel Agencies Call for Stronger Relief Measures

Among the hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, Greek travel agencies are calling on the government to extend relief in the form of non-repayable grants proportionate to losses suffered so that they can remain operational.

In a letter to responsible ministries, the Federation of Hellenic Associations of Tourist & Travel Agencies (FedHATTA) cites similar actions implemented by other countries and proposes that Greek travel agencies be included in government funding programs based on the following criteria:

– financial losses suffered from 1 March to 31 May 2021 compared to the same period in 2019

– losses exceeding 50 percent of turnover in the same period in 2019

– aid should concern sector-specific activities with relevant KAD codes.

“Travel agencies, the sector hit hardest worldwide in this unprecedented disastrous situation, remain and will remain for a long time with zero work and zero revenue facing a real risk of survival,” the federation said, describing the situation as “tragic” and predicting little change, at least until May 2021 due to lack of activity and demand.

Among others, FedHATTA also proposes that beneficiaries with turnover of 0-1 million euros be eligible for subsidies amounting to 20 percent of income loss suffered; for those recording 1-5 million euros in turnover to be eligible for aid amounting to 15 percent of income loss suffered; for agencies with 5 to 50 million euros in turnover to receive 10 percent of income loss suffered; and for companies with over 50 million euros in turnover to receive 5 percent of income loss suffered.

FedHATTA notes that government relief measures implemented so far are mostly aimed at supporting employees, “they do not really help the companies themselves as a whole to remain open”, the federation said in its letter.

Citing Hellenic Statistical Authority data, FedHATTA said companies active in the specific KAD services in 2018 generated 2.8 billion euros in total turnover. Airline tickets and coastal shipping, handled for the most part by tourist offices, generated 1.7 billion and 0.8 billion euros, respectively, in turnover in 2019.

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