Despite the excessive taxes imposed on the sector, tourism has been the one industry propped up the Greek economy this year, as other sectors showed signs of fatigue and decline, data presented on Wednesday by the Association of Hellenic Tourism Enterprises (SETE) showed.
International air arrivals in the country’s main airports from January to August recorded a 6.5 percent yearly increase, amounting to some 753,000 additional visitors to Greece. The sum of total arrivals is positive in comparison with last year for the first eight months, in spite of the 3.8 percent drop in road arrivals.
Data from the Labor Ministry’s Ergani hirings register, presented by SETE, showed that 82.8 percent of the increase in salaried employment in the first seven months of the year (totaling 253,945 more jobs) was thanks to tourism sector (210,226 jobs created). In July alone the increase in food service and accommodation outpaced the overall rise in employment across the economy by 52 percent.
At the same time, employment data from the Social Security Foundation (IKA) showed that jobs in tourism increased by 14.8 percent year-on-year, while salaries grew by an impressive 13.3 percent.
Since 2010, in the context of an unprecedented recession, tourism has increased the revenues it has brought to the country by 40 percent, while gross domestic product shrank by 25 percent. The direct impact of tourism on GDP amounts to 10 percent and its indirect impact comes to 25 percent. It is also an essentially exporting sector, as 90 percent of its revenues come from abroad, with the sale of services to foreigners.
In a meeting with employer associations and workers’ unions on Wednesday, opposition New Democracy chief Kyriakos Mitsotakis heard SETE’s presentation of tourism’s situation and said the hotel levy per night stayed is “unfair,” adding he will announce its abolition (if he comes to power) at the Thessaloniki International Fair this weekend.