Although demand for travel to Greece this season is on the rise, the post-Covid recovery of the country’s tourism sector faces challenges, according to Greek hoteliers.
“We are ready to fight the battle of the season, to make the most of the momentum gained last year because we are fully aware of the importance of tourism for the economy”, declared the president of the Federation. Hellenic of hoteliers, Grigoris Tasiossaid Wednesday.
Speaking at the federation’s general assembly held in Athens, Tasios stressed that he expects 2022 to be a “good year for tourism”.
However, he said strong demand and increased arrivals expected in 2022 do not necessarily mean a recovery in hotel coffers as the pandemic blow has left many professionals this year with state dues and to banks.
Tasios added that following the shock of the pandemic, professionals are now facing a global “tsunami” of energy and product price hikes, at a time when a war is unfolding in Europe and the situation is deteriorating day by day.
“Right now the operating cost per room per night has gone up 25-30%,” he said.
Meanwhile, challenges remain in the form of staff shortages and unfair competition that hotels face from Airbnb-style rentals in Greece.
Short term rental: Insufficient legislation a major issue for hoteliers
Speaking at the General Assembly, the President of the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE), Yannis Retsosrefers to the unfair competition that hotels face from Airbnb-style rentals in Greece due to certain “loopholes” in current short-term rental legislation.
“No one can deny that short-term rentals are a global trend because there is a demand for this market,” Retsos said, stressing that tourism professionals do not reject the fact that short-term rentals are part of the product. touristic.
“However, these days we have reached a situation where Greek and foreign companies are now appearing in all regions of Greece, mainly in large urban centers, and buying entire buildings which then function as hotels with comprehensive services”, underlined the president of SETE.
According to Retsos, the current legislation on short-term rentals in Greece needs to be revised in order to maintain the competitiveness of the hotel industry.
“It’s also a big loss for the government, for the economy… Besides unfair competition, there is also a loss of insurance contributions, there is undeclared work… We are 100% against this and we will fight it as much as possible… The problem is huge and also concerns the quality of the tourist product and the protection of consumers,” he said.
The president of SETE added that professionals in the sector have recently transmitted to the government a new set of provisions which correct the current legislation.
Greece is the only Western country that has not regulated the short-term rental business
Echoing Retsos, the president of the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels, Alexander Vasilikosalso called for clear and better defined national legislation.
“The hotel industry has never been against development, in this case the sharing economy… However, we have been focusing on this issue since 2012 and I must say that we are currently the only Western country not not regulate this activity,” Vassilikos said. .
Also present at the general meeting was the governor of the Independent Authority for Public Revenue (AADE), George Pitsilis.
Although he did not directly address the issue of companies operating entire apartment buildings as hotels, the AADE official informed that checks will be carried out as part of Greece’s cooperation with the three main short-term rental operators (Airbnb, Booking.com and VRBO) .
“All listings of houses/apartments that do not have a Property Registration Number (AMA) will be removed from the platforms by the end of the year,” Pitsilis said, adding that AADE will also check the listings. platforms that rent luxury villas for the short term.
“AADE is working to draw boundaries between the hospitality industry and the short-term rental market…We are strengthening our controls because it is important to ensure healthy competition,” Pitsilis said.
The extreme staff shortages facing the tourism industry have also been included among the challenges facing the hospitality industry.
Stressing that the main reason why young people do not want to work in tourism is that employment is seasonal, SETE President Yiannis Retsos called for a strategic approach to the issue.
“We need private sector initiatives in cooperation with the government to mitigate seasonality…We also need winter employment policies for these workers,” he said.
It should be noted that for this year and for the first time, as part of the fight against the lack of personnel in tourism, the government has invited companies in the sector to declare vacancies for the period June-August to the Service Public Employment (DYPA).
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