Tourist bus and travel service providers in Greece call for help

Reducing a special tax on fuel consumption, granting subsidies for fleet renewal and offering support to the companies concerned are among the eight proposals made by the owners of tourist agencies, of tourist bus services and small and medium accommodation structures in Greece citing the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

More specifically, the General Panhellenic Federation of Tourism Enterprises (GEPOET) presented the proposals to Finance Minister Christos Staikouras during a working meeting this week at the ministry.

The set of recommendations follows a series of letters to the minister asking for action given the difficult conditions created by the pandemic that have driven many bus and tourist agencies to despair.

Among other things, GEPOET demands the reduction of a special tax on fuels for the duration of the inflation crisis or alternatively the compensation of the amount by a reduction of social security contributions and taxes; the cancellation of interest and surcharges created in the last two years as well as the suspension of the payment of new liabilities created during the coronavirus until the end of 2022; providing renewed emergency funding to tour buses operating at reduced capacity; subsidize the renewal of the tourist bus fleet under the new NSRF programme; include in service providers in the new public investment program for the year 2022-2023 so that companies can become eligible for funding for fleet renewal and the creation of car parks; reduction of vehicle tax to levels paid by KTEL intercity buses; include tourist bus service providers and tourist offices in all support measures planned for the companies concerned; maintain VAT on transport at 13% and reduce VAT on tourist packages – currently at 24% – to the same level.

In 2020, Greek tourism companies operating buses received a 20 million euros in aid in total to cover losses related to Covid-19 in July and August.

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Willie R. Golden