Excellent news for the Greek tourism industry as bookings have significantly increased for 2013. Newsit.gr
reported Tourism Minister Olga Kefaloyiannis announced "tourism could provide the necessary impetus to the Greek economy and restore optimism in the country." She went on to urge striking Greeks to break the vicious cycle of strikes which promote such a negative image, and instead "give priority to the national interest."
German tourists that stayed away from Greece last year are once again booking vacations. The Chairman of German tour company Alltours said
''Greece has overcome the crisis of the previous couple of years and is back in its good old shape." The company has thus far recorded an increase of over 10 percent in bookings to Greece, while Austrian tour operator Ruefa-Verkehrsburo has recorded an increase of 35 percent in bookings to Greece.
A new initiative to assist the Greek tourism industry was launched in February, allowing favorable loans to be granted to Greek tourist businesses. The initiative will be managed by the General Secretariat of the Public Investment Fund and the Hellenic Fund for Entrepreneurship and Development. According to GTP
, businesses located on islands with less than 3,100 residents will be able to apply for interest free loans.
The government also hopes to persuade the Troika of international lenders to reduce the VAT levy of 23 percent on restaurants in an effort to boost business.