ECONOMY

SETE chief writes to minister to stress tourism industry’s value

sete-chief-writes-to-minister-to-stress-tourism-industry-s-value

The president of the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE), Andreas Andreadis, has written to Alternate Minister for Social Security Pavlos Haikalis, highlighting the importance of the tourism sector for employment and as a revenue generator for the government’s insurance coffers.

In a letter sent to Haikalis Wednesday, Andreadis said that the tourism industry outweighs other sectors of the economy in terms of jobs and revenue generated for the government.

According to the latest available data from 2014 referred to in the letter, the volume of paid employment provided by the tourism industry increased by 23 percent last year. In the restaurant, bar and cafe sector, employment went up by 39 percent. Employment increased by 30 percent at campsites, by 15 percent at hotels, and in travel agencies it was up 12 percent in 2014.

During July last year, 137,139 new job openings were recorded in the tourism industry compared to the same month in 2013. In total, jobs in the tourism sector reached over half a million in July 2014, equaling a third of paid employment in the private sector.

During 2014, total salaries in the industry came to 3.8 billion euros, representing an increase of nearly 500 million euros compared to 2013. The average monthly wage in the sector in 2014 was 1,000 euros.

Total contributions from tourism to the IKA insurance fund increased by almost 200 million euros in 2014, reaching 1.6 billion euros, which represented 16 percent of organization’s revenue.

The tourism industry was responsible for contributing 17 billion euros, or 9.3 percent, to Greece’s GDP in 2014. According to Andreadis, tourism is not only a basic pillar for the Greek economy under the current difficult circumstances but the most vital sector for sustainable development over the next years.

Haikalis announced that he would invite the SETE president for a meeting to discuss, among others, the issue of the illegal accommodation market. Andreadis has responded that he is drawing up measures to combat the problem in collaboration with the alternate minister, including making salary payments into bank accounts compulsory to combat tax evasion.