Tourism plays a great role in the Greek Economy and with the economy poised to shrink again this year it is a hot topic with Greek Policy makers trying to get Greece and the Greek Islands back in business. All stake holders involved in Greece’s future understand that Tourism has a central role in growth for the Greek Islands, however only a few thus far have had the courage to undertake the overhaul that the Greek economy needs. As a result the country which has remained in recession for years will continue this path unless there are drastic changes.
The Geek Economy is FAT, BLOATED and NON PRODUCTIVE and instead of sending it to an intense boot camp to get it back in shape, policy makers chose to play games tweaking the economy here and there, hoping for the Ancient Gods of Greece to save the economy. In the recent past they have tried some so called “innovations” on the Greek Tourism front such as:
- Hotel Sales Tax has been cut to help hotels sell rooms
- Simplifying visa procedures for countries such as Ukraine and Russia
- Extending visiting hours at sites such as the Acropolis to accommodate more visitors
- Piraeus Port Authority (PPA) has slashed docking fees for ferry boat operators
These efforts although commendable, are not enough to solve Greece’s problems where tourism accounts for almost 20% of the Greek GDP. It’s about time that the bureaucratic walls that hinder Greek economic development come crumbling down to pave the way for true economic growth and development. An article from Fortune Magazine which I came across “5 ways to transform Greece’s economy now” this past week offers some great insight on how to get the Greek economy roaring forward.
“Greece’s problems aren’t all about debt. They’re about competitiveness, and changing the arcane rules in areas from the cruise industry to pharmaceuticals would help it reboot its economy.” the Fortune article States.
- Cruise industry: Open Competition to allow US Cruise Ships and others to Home Port in Athens, expanding the Greek Cruise Industry
- Trucking industry: Enforce recent law to issue more truck licenses to bring down freight shipping costs out of Greece, expanding exports and fueling growth
- Pharmaceuticals: Lower price of drugs in Greece; a major victory for consumers
- Resort development: Rigid laws that prevent development of real estate; only 6 golf courses in Greece, a Greek Tragedy
- Labor Market: The take home pay is not the issue, but the system in setting the wages is at fault; the system has been over hauled and now there is hope that it will function in a competitive fashion
These bold steps if taken, will surely propel Greece back to the great historic heights that they are accustomed to. The rules of the game seem to finally be changing, and now if only the Ancient Greek Gods could enforce the rules, the Greek Islands can return to being the ultimate play ground for us all.