ATHENS – Deputy Tourism Minister Manos Konsolas, in his speech to the Parliamentary Committee on Production and Trade during a discussion of the tourism ministry's draft bill, on Thursday outlined the government's three goals for restarting tourism.
He stressed that the first goal was to salvage whatever could be gained from a year that, until recently, was considered entirely lost for Greek tourism.
The second goal was to support workers, maintaining employment and preserving jobs by covering wage costs and expanding unemployment benefits for seasonal workers. As a third goal, Konsolas set out the strengthening of companies by providing them with liquidity through loans guaranteed by the state and including them in the second phase of the returnable advance.
The deputy minister, who was one of the first to publicly propose lower VAT on transport, stressed that the prime minister's decision to reduce VAT strengthens the competitiveness of Greek tourism. Konsolas, among others, pointed out that:
"Life and tourism must not and cannot be stopped. We can be safe without succumbing to fear but while taking all necessary measures. Observance of health protocols will enhance the country's image as a safe tourist destination, some of our visitors will be tested and there will be a strengthening and preparation of health infrastructure in all tourist destinations, with the drafting of special business plans.
Referring to the ministry's legislative initiatives, he stressed that two more bills are ready. The first he described as the biggest reform ever made in the sector of tourism education and research and the second seeks to shape the conditions for the growth of regional tourism and transform the ministry's regional tourism services into multifunctional centres for generating tourism policy.