(Greece) – According to the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises, or SETE, tax increases have impacted the country’s ability to stay competitive in the tourism sector. They have determined by analyzing data that the extra taxes that have been put in place over the past year have decreased Greece’s competitiveness by 10%. They outlined their findings after a series of studies titled, “Greek Tourism – Developments & Prospects,” and the findings were just released. When the bailouts first started in 2010 when they accepted their first of three, the tourism sector had experienced about a 50% recovery in competitiveness.
Tax increases and other austerity measures have come with each of the three bailouts, but it is the taxation that seems to be impacted the tourism sector the most. Since tourism accounts for about 18% of the Gross Domestic Product in Greece, the country relies on it to generate revenue. The latest tax increase occurred with this third bailout, which was put into place a few months ago. Currently, any competitiveness that was gained because of the bailouts is offset by the taxes. The study also went on to say that taxation wasn’t the only thing that was holding tourism in Greece back. Quality standards regarding regional airports, roads, trains, ports, and highways is also a concern.
Despite that, Greek tourism has seen an increase and in 2015, the country received a record number of visitors. It seems as if 2016 is on track to also bring in a large number of tourists despite concerns such as the economic and refugee crises. In fact, many places in Greece have made top lists for the best places to visit in the world, such as the recent study by Skyscanner, which indicates that Greece is one of the most inexpensive places to visit in the world – as long as you go a little bit off the beaten track.