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Liberalization of Greek Vacation Rental Market Worries Sector

hotel_keyProfessionals in the Greek accommodation sector have expressed concern over the decision to open up the tourist rental market to include homes and villas and do away with a 30-day time restriction, saying it creates conditions of “unfair competition” and will inevitably lead to tax evasion.

The Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE), representing the majority of the country’s tourism professionals, is expressing alarm over the measure, which is part of the third bailout package, which was passed in parliament early Friday morning.

The opening up of the vacation rental market in effect allows individuals to rent out their homes or villas without a time or rate limit.

In a letter sent to Alternate Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura on Thursday, SETE is calling on the government enforce a 20-day threshold.

SETE is stressing that the liberalization of the vacation rental market with no time restrictions will have a dramatic effect on the functioning of legal hotel accommodation, the quality of services, state revenues and employment.

“The time restriction currently applicable is the only way to differentiate tourism activity from urban home leases, which are subject only to income tax. If fully liberalized, most accommodation businesses will chose to do the same; work in vacation home short leases, which is bound to lead to a reduction in state revenue and increased black market activity,” SETE says in the letter.

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