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Bumper year for Greek holidays

- by Archimedes

Greek Island holiday target of 18m in 2014.

Greek tourism leaders forecast a record year for Greek Island holidays in 2014 – but only if Greece remains politically stable.

President of the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE), Andreas Andreadis, has set 18 million international arrivals as the official target for 2014 and €13 billion in tourism revenue.

But the president warned that the Greek holiday targets can only be reached if Greece avoids political instability and any snap elections or sudden changes in government policies.

Early bookings for holidays to Greece and the Greek island for 2014 already show strong growth with bookings from the United Kingdom already up by 10% on 2013 with an upward trend in advance bookings form other strong holiday markets such as Germany.

When final figures are in for the 2013 holiday season, Greece expects to notch up a record 17.5 million international arrivals and around €11.5 billion in revenues .

The president called on measures from the Greek government to help ensure that even higher holiday booking targets can be met in 2014 including a stable tax regime and more cash to help promote Greek Island holidays.

He called on Greece to maintain VAT on Greek food services at the current 13%. The rate was dropped from 21% imposed earlier this year after strong protest from the tourism industry.

Mr Andreadis warned that any increase of the VAT rate would have a negative effect on tourism as hotel firms have already signed contracts with international tour operators for next season and an extra VAT burden could leave hotels operating at a loss.

Other measures to boost holiday numbers next year include a major holiday promotion of the Greek Islands by'Marketing Greece' and SETE.

Marketing Greece is set to launch a five-language website next year to promote Greek holidays and SETE plans a number of tourist building initiatives including improving the quality of tourism training and services.