Greek PM: Hotel tax to come into effect in 2018
In his speech at general assembly of the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) on Thursday, the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras underlined that Greece will remain a stable and secure country, despite the turmoil in neighboring areas.
According to PM Tsipras, the conclusion of the Greek bailout review, along with debt relief will help dispel the uncertainty. Greece, he added, is entering a "new era of growth and optimism" and stressed that the country will rise up to the challenges ahead.
The Prime Minister also commented that over 10 billion euros would enter the real economy in 2016 and was confident that the economy can return to growth by the end of the year, in accordance with government planning.
SETE president's concerns
On the contrary, the president of the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE), Andreas Andreadis, said on Thursday during the 24th annual general assembly of SETE in Athens that Greece may record losses in tourism over the next two years
He referred to the so-called "occupancy tax", a new levy rumored to be charged on Greek accommodation this year, he said it was "outrageous" and "totally absurd", adding that it would be a "tombstone" for tourism businesses.
The Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras invited SETE's president to "make a bet" that Greek tourism this year will reach record levels.
"You are not on the edge. Already, you have a 10 percent increase in bookings. I bet you that 2016 will be another record year", he retorted to Mr. Andreadis.
For this year, SETE's initial forecast was positive, with 1.5 million more arrivals, reaching 25 million, plus 2.5 million cruise arrivals. Tourism revenue was estimated to reach 15 billion euros, up by 800 million euros compared to 2015. However, Mr. Andreadis warned that the industry not only fails until now to achieve the new goal, but also drops below the figures of 2015