40,000 Illegal Accommodations Damage Tourism
The Hellenic Chamber of Hotels sounds the alarm on the issue of illegal accommodation which has greatly damaged the Greek tourism sector, with losses reaching 1 billion euros.
The Chamber President, George Tsakiris, commented on the issue, saying that at least 40,000 to 45,000 illegal accommodation lodges are currently operating in Greece, while the owners are choosing to ignore the hefty fines.
“Despite the Greek Ministry of Tourism initiatives to make these accommodations legal, only 3,000 owners have responded accordingly. The rest prefer to operate illegally, despite the 50,000 euro fine,” Tsakiris notes.
Spyros Galiatsatos, president of the Hotel Owners Union in Cephalonia and member of the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels estimates that the phenomenon of illegal accommodation is not sufficiently countered.
“A part of incoming tourists are directed towards illegal accommodations and for this reason, while there is a large increase in tourist flow, there is no corresponding increase in the country’s financial revenue,” he says.
Illegal accommodation lodges operate without invoices and as a result they are at least 23% cheaper than legitimate businesses, since they do not pay VAT. This situation prevents the smooth operation of Greece’s tourism sector.
Meanwhile, the illegal activity is also spreading in the tour sector. Most of the lodge owners also offer tours, without following the statutory requirements or paying applicable taxes.