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Greek taverna prices set to rise

- by Archimedes

Greek taverna prices set to rise.

Tourist visitors on Greek Island holidays will soon notice an effect on their wallets when soft drink prices rise sharply in September. The Greek government has announced an increase in VAT from 13% to 23% for all soft drinks from September 1.

The move will trigger a wave of price rises in Greek tavernas, shops and supermarkets which will have a direct effect on the pockets of those on holiday in Greece.

According to the government the extra VAT will be imposed on all types of fruit and vegetable juices, coffee, tea and chocolate drinks as well as mineral waters, carbonated water and on all sugar-sweetened drinks.

Tourist leaders say the price rises will affect hotels and tavernas across Greece, particularly hotels serving breakfasts and other meals where holiday prices have meals included.

Owners of cafes, tavernas, snack bars, dairies and other holiday outlets will be forced to pass the increases onto customers. Only schools and hospitals will escape the VAT increase which the government insists is needed to help the country climb out of its huge debt problems.

Plans to increase the VAT charged by restaurants and tavernas to 23% has come under fierce attack by political opposition parties. They say it will inflict serious damage on the tourism industry and lead to job losses.

The rise from 13 to 23 percent was agreed in July part of the medium-term fiscal package by the EMF. Greece asked for a September rise to limit the disruption to the tourism industry.

Opponents say Greece secured the right to lower VAT for restaurants when it joined the EC in 1981 and that VAT charged by restaurants in other countries, such as Italy, France, Cyprus and Portugal, is both lower than in Greece

Despite these problems tourist visitors to Greece and the Greek islands continues to rise this year with 9.5% more holidays visitors than last year, according to figures release by the Greece tourism industry.