NEWS

Incentives for hotels, businesses to open

Aiming to boost the tourism sector, package announced for companies put off by low bookings

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The government will provide a package of incentives for hotels and other tourism companies to open for business, given their reluctance to get back to business due to the still low bookings in May and June.

More specifically, it is extending the program that entails the suspension of employment contracts until the end of June while the Synergasia labor subsidy program which covers the insurance contributions paid by employers will continue until the end of September.

In due course it will also open the platform through which the subsidy will be granted to those companies that saw a drop in turnover of more than 30% last year compared to 2019.

At the same time, the government is awaiting the relevant decision of the European Commission in order to proceed with the financing of companies (using funds from the National Strategic Reference Framework – NSRF, or ESPA in Greek) with working capital so that the sector can restart economic activity.

Tellingly, Development Minister Adonis Georgiadis stated that when this tourism boosting program gets under way, “it will be very difficult for a hotelier not to open.”

The relevant decisions to provide these incentives were taken on Monday by the ministries of Labor and Finance in collaboration with the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE).

These measures were deemed necessary as medium-sized and large tourism companies with staffs numbering in the hundreds have been reluctant to open their units as bookings for the next month and a half remain weak. Their reluctance created a vicious cycle as hotels and other tourism businesses have remained closed and in turn created significant delays in the effort to kick-start the tourism season with the inflow of travelers to the country.

Among the long list of measures is the provision that seasonal employees who have the right of compulsory re-employment in tourist accommodation and tourist coach businesses but who will not be re-employed during the months of May and June are given the right to be included in the measure of suspension of employment contract with special purpose compensation.

Guides and tour guides will receive special purpose compensation for the months of March, April and May.