BUSINESS

Tourism bookings dip into negative territory in Q1

STATHIS KOUSOUNIS, DIMITRA MANIFAVA

TAGS: Tourism

Tourism bookings for this season have turned to negative territory compared to last year, according to March data by Amadeus cited by the president of the Association of Hellenic Tourism Enterprises (SETE), Andreas Andreadis.

The figures show that bookings in the year up to last month recorded a 1 percent decline on a yearly basis. There is a negative flow from the markets of Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium, Austria and the Netherlands, while there is growth from Britain, Russia, Poland and the Scandinavian countries.

The decline is mainly attributed to the dive in March bookings following the terrorist attacks in Brussels and the general concern they have generated in the international tourism market.

With Spain adding 4 percent year-on-year at the same time, Andreadis comments that tourism in this country is also hurt by the migration problem, as well as by the uncertainty that has returned due to the government’s inability to complete the bailout review to date.

At the same time, the government is facing increasing criticism with regard to a series of matters that affect tourism. In recent weeks this criticism had focused on the possibility of the government introducing a special additional charge for hotel guests, but this issue was joined yesterday by plans for an increase in the value-added tax on accommodation and food service to 24 percent. Andreadis said that the hotel charge would push Greek holidaymakers toward illegal accommodation and foreign visitors to rival destinations, adding that such a measure would be particularly irrational.

The president of the Hellenic Federation of Hoteliers, Yiannis Retsos, stressed that the proposed indirect taxes, particularly the planned hotel charge, would spell the end of any growth prospects. Similarly, the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels warned that such a charge would constitute the final straw for Greek tourism.

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