Greek Tourism needs a policy of strategic depth

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Greek Tourism needs a policy of strategic depth

It is perfectly natural to rejoice in the new records attained by Greek tourism, yet we must resist the temptation of vanity, apparent in talking or dealing superficially with the country's greatest comparative advantage.

The tax burdens imposed on our tourist product during the past three years, the decline in its competitiveness combined with Greece's inability to attract large-scale investments and seasonality continue to haunt our only remaining so called “heavy industry”.

The "automatic pilot" policy rests on its laurels by continuously reciting the rise in arrivals, yet numerous tourism professionals (along with the Bank of Greece) record fluctuations in revenues, a reduction in average spending per night, and the self-evident overall trend that the number of visitors may increase, but those who come spend less money and fewer days.

We remain in dire need of a national policy for tourism with strategic depth, which aims not to simply count visitors, but to measure revenue growth and generate wealth for the country and its citizens.

This policy must include a cutback in taxes, abolition of overnight levy, reduction in property ENFIA toll and a standard corporate tax rate of 20%.

Moreover, immediate implementation of a new land-use planning for tourism that will create the conditions for large-scale investments to increase revenue and attract high-income visitors.

Finally, diversification and enrichment of the tourist product with the combined development of different forms of tourism, with particular emphasis on health tourism, city break as well as opening up to new markets to extend the tourist season.

As long as these reforms are not implemented, Greek tourism with all its “records” shall remain vulnerable, weak and feeble.

 

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