ECONOMY

Hoteliers reducing prices

Greek hoteliers have been cutting prices offered on the German market in a bid to hold on to their existing market share as the vital tourism sector heads for a difficult season due to the global crisis. Germany is a key source of visitors for Greece’s tourism market, corresponding to about 20 percent of the economy. During a series of meetings held at the ITB exhibition in Berlin, the world’s largest travel and tourism event that wound up yesterday, Greek hotel owners reduced prices offered to tour operators, while also offering them special deals in an attempt to lure travellers to the country’s shores. Greek authorities and officials are hoping to contain this year’s drop in German tourists visiting the country on organized trips to 20 to 30 percent, according to sources. Data from Germany showed recently that 2.3 million Germans flew into Greece last year. With initial figures showing the drop in bookings at high levels, sector officials are expected to call on the government to deliver a second package of measures to support the industry. According to the president of the Panhellenic Federation of Hoteliers, Andreas Andreadis, hotel owners will ask the government to reduce their value added tax (VAT) and cut airport taxes. Some press reports are saying the European Commission has already given the green light for Greece to cut VAT in sensitive sectors such as tourism and construction to 5 percent, from 19 percent currently.