BUSINESS

High taxes are hurting local tourism

STATHIS KOUSOUNIS

TAGS: Tourism, Finance

The Greek tourism product has become less attractive in international markets due to the heavy taxation on the sector, which has led it to lose its comparative advantage it had enjoyed over its rivals, according to the Association of Hellenic Tourism Enterprises (SETE).

In a statement, the body of tourism employers cites the increase in value-added tax on food service, accommodation and transport (air and maritime), the abolition of the 30 percent discount on VAT on a number of popular Aegean islands, the increase in ticket prices at museums and archaeological sites and the hike in the prices of various consumer goods.

The association also notes that tourism professionals are also burdened by a retroactive increase in the Single Property Tax (ENFIA) on small hotel enterprises.

SETE says that the government has to do what is required to beat the phenomena of tax evasion in tourism so that VAT rates can return to competitive levels in 2017. The head of the association, Andreas Andreadis, says that attracting investment is the only truly effective measure that will help the economy to recover and gross domestic product to climb, but this requires a stable tax framework for at least a decade, as well as combating bureaucracy, introducing a modern zoning plan for tourism, upgrading public infrastructures and introducing incentives to offset the high cost of money.
 

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