Hotel Chamber Holds 2nd General Assembly At HO.RE.CA.
Some 1,700 hoteliers from all over Greece attended the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels’ second general assembly that took place this year on the sidelines of the 8th HO.RE.CA. Expo, on Saturday, 9 February, at the Metropolitan Expo Center.
Citing new data from the Bank of Greece, the chamber’s president, Yiorgos Tsakiris, underlined that despite the number of challenges caused by the ongoing economic crisis, tourism acted as an engine for the Greek economy’s growth in 2012.
The Bank of Greece’s data, publicized for the first time, in combination with statistics from ITEP (Research Institute for Tourism) and Quantos company, foreign tourists spent 10.024 billion euros in 2012, declining five percent compared with 2011.
During the same period, international overnights dropped seven percent to 141 million while arrivals exceeded 15.5 million, a decrease of six percent compared with 2011. Nevertheless, hotel occupancy was extremely low.
During the general assembly, Mr. Tsakiris referred to a series of issues that still trouble the sector such as the special property tax charged on hotels through electricity bills, the illegal “hotels” that continue to operate throughout Athens and the high cost of heating oil that burdens hotels especially in Greece’s highlands.
He also said the hotel chamber was totally against the establishment of “tourist villas” in Greece (detached houses, 100 square meters minimum, to be leased up to three months per year) that is mentioned in the draft law for tourism released by the Tourism Ministry.
The Hellenic Chamber of Hotels’ second general assembly also hosted presentations by Wolfgang Kleeman, CEO of OEHT BANK (credit institution in Austria for hotels and tourism) and Dr. Brigitte Scheuerle, director of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Frankfurt.