x

Tourism

Warning Signs for Greek Tourism: Taxes Driving Away Visitors

June 15, 2019

ATHENS – Expecting yet another record tourism season, Greece’s hopes for big numbers of visitors and revenues are slipping after a Hellenic Chamber of Hotels survey showed some 40 percent of members expect occupancy rates to fall up to 16 percent.

Another 10 percent said they’ll have to cut rates up to 13 percent, difficult to do after the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA imposed an avalanche of tax hikes and an overnight stay tax making the country less competitive with nearby rivals such as Turkey.

Greek hotel owners, said Kathimerini, are anxious about an economic slowdown in some European Union countries and the effect of the United Kingdom’s scheduled departure from the bloc in October, making many British visitors wary of traveling.

“The findings of the survey clearly validate the warnings we have long issued,” said the chamber’s head Alexandros Vassilikos. This pressure on demand is seen after five consecutive record years for Greek tourism, in terms of both arrivals and revenues.

If the numbers slack off this year, particularly in the high summer season, it could pose big trouble for the next Greek government, with the major opposition New Democracy favored to win July 7 snap elections.

That’s because tourism revenues make up some 18 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 177.73 billion euros ($200.3 billion,) a total little more than half of the 326 billion euros ($367.4 billion) successive governments received in three bailouts.

Falling tourism revenues would coincide with a loss in the budget from handouts given by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in the form of pension bonuses and tax cuts in a bid to win back favor after plummeting in polls for reneging on anti-austerity promises.

RELATED

While Greece’s New Democracy government is fervently pursuing foreign investors, luxury resorts need no persuasion, the sector growing rapidly and now a London-based real asset merchant bank, CBE Capital, financing another.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

Zelensky outcries to world from Kharkiv (VIDEO)

KHARKIV - Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has released a video plea calling on world leaders to attend a “peace summit” next month in Switzerland after a deadly Russian attack on a DIY hypermarket in Kharkiv on Saturday.

TEL AVIV, Israel  — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged Monday that a “tragic mistake” had been made after an Israeli strike in the southern Gaza city of Rafah set fire to a tent camp housing displaced Palestinians and, according to local officials, killed at least 45 people.

ATHENS - It’s rare to see people drunk in public in Greece, where the legal age is 18 but even children can buy beer at kiosks without being questioned, but behind the wheel is another matter, with 44 percent of those surveyed saying they have driven intoxicated.

ATHENS - Greece’s reachout to Qatar for closer diplomatic ties, trade and investments - despite an investigation into allegedly bribing European Parliament members, including Greece’s Eva Kaili - will see the country’s leader come to Athens.

ATHENS - Responding to Greece’s plan to create marine parks in the Aegean Sea, Turkey said it would establish one as well, continuing to question sovereignty and upset that it wasn’t notified about the scheme.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.