ATHENS – Focused hard on tourism, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will take to TV May 20 to reveal his plan to get rolling again an economy devastated by the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic that forced a lockdown of most businesses for six weeks.
The New Democracy leader is expected to say the key is salvaging some kind of summer season for tourism, the country’s biggest revenue engine, bringing in as much as 18-20 percent of the Gross Domestic Product of 183.05 billion euros ($200.3 billion.)
The measures will include 7 billion euros ($7.66 billion) in fiscal aid and liquidity of another 10 billion euros ($10.94 billion) and a cut in the Value Added Tax (VAT) from 24 to 13 percent for cafes and other eateries, said Kathimerini, Reuters.
The business newspaper Naftemporiki said Mitsotakis’ economic team is also looking to cut taxes for corporations and the self-employed as another kickstart after estimates the economy, that was on course to grow 2-3 percent, could shrink 10 percent or more.
VAT reductions will also be approved for hotel accommodation charges while worker salaries in the tourism, catering and industrial sectors will also be subsidized through the European Union’s SURE program, from which Greece expects to receive a total amount exceeding 1.4 billion euros ($1.53 billion) said Kathimerini.
Until the EU aid is disbursed it’s expected the state will front the money to help tourism workers who are essential to a sector that the government hopes will begin in earnest on July 1 with hotel openings, albeit under strict hygiene protocols that could limit numbers of guests.
Helping landlords and property owners who received only 60 percent of the rent on their properties due to the government lockdown is also being examined, reports said, along with cutting the hated ENFIA property tax surcharge.
There could also be news about opening borders with Balkan countries to create a tourism corridor that isn’t dependent on international air traffic that isn’t set to resume fully until later in the summer.