BUSINESS

Minister banishes fear of extra levy on hotels, sees more Asian visitors

STATHIS KOUSOUNIS

TAGS: Tourism

Alternate Minister for Tourism Elena Kountoura has assured reporters that she has secured a pledge from Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos that Greek hotels will not ahve to pay a much feared extra levy this summer, easing the concerns of hoteliers about the season that is just getting under way.

The rumors that had been swirling about such a levy had generated a fierce reaction from representatives of tourism associations, who spoke of a destructive measure that would hurt the competitiveness of the country’s hotel sector.

Kountoura said that the rumor was generated following the publication of a proposal by Thessaloniki Mayor Yiannis Boutaris for an initially voluntary payment of a special tax on the city’s hotels in conjunction with the abolition of another smaller charge for hotels, called the “visitors’ levy.”

The alternate minister responsible for tourism also revealed that she has made a request to a government committee chaired by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras for funding of 15 million euros to be used for promoting Greece abroad as a holiday destination. Kountoura noted that she is awaiting a response after Easter.

Meanwhile Greece is benefiting from the promotion it enjoys thanks to Asian TV series shot on Greek islands: The island of Zakynthos is expected to see increased interest after filming for the popular Korean series “Descendants of the Sun” took place there. It has been widely exported. Santorini benefited greatly after serving as a setting for “Beijing Love Story,” a 2014 Chinese romance film.

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