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Greece's latest tourism industry news by Greek Travel Pages (gtp)

Op-Ed: ‘Yachting Remains One of the Most Safe Ways to Vacation’ – Michael Skoulikidis

The Greek Travel Pages (GTP) has provided a podium for Greece’s key tourism figures to share their vision for the day after the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Yachting remains to be one of the most secure ways to vacation due to the safety that a smaller, controlled environment offers, as well as the fact that UNHWIs minimise risks when travelling to reach the vessel. The pandemic changed our industry, but it has sharpened our reflexes and proved how resilient yachting is. In order to survive, we had to act fast. Strict protocols were put in place, all crews are PCR tested and all boats are disinfected before charters. We also cooperated with private plane companies that can provide air ambulances with portable medical isolation units.

We also found new ways of marketing our product, replacing live events with the Virtual Charter Yacht shows, and hosting the Open Days in the Athens Marinas as a means to keep the conversation going. We became better at cost-cutting while reaching out to new operational territories like the Adriatic, Turkey, the West Mediterranean and the Red Sea.

This year, meaningful experiences became the new trend. People wanted to do something special, having an adventure instead of just staying in a luxury hotel. Guests could stay on board, isolating and working remotely.

Let’s not forget that on a yacht, creating a travel bubble is easier as you control who comes on board.

To become more competitive, we need a national strategy and a modern legal framework that applies exclusively to yachting. We need to harmonise with the legislation of other EU Mediterranean countries so that guests aren’t confused while travelling between countries. Furthermore, our VAT rate is too high for our location on the Eastern European border. While our neighbours take advantage of no VAT, our increased operational fees make us more expensive than our competition. We are not in favour of closed seas, but we do believe in fair competition.

Despite difficulties, exploring the Greek islands is a heavenly experience for guests. They return from their vacation generating the best publicity, word of mouth, making yachting the best advertisement for Greece. Overall, yachting brings revenue to the country and creates jobs. It contributes to the promotion of the Greek islands and coastal areas. Superyachts have no borders, which means they can take advantage of every opportunity and avoid every problem.”

* This Op-Ed originally appeared in the Greek Travel Pages (GTP) annual printed edition for 2021. Press here for more information.

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