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The ‘Sharing Economy’ in Tourism Deprives Greece of Millions of Euros

airbnb_1The Greek economy misses out on taxes adding up to 350 million euros per year due to the operation of illegal tourism accommodation, according to a study by leading business adviser Grant Thornton that was presented by the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels at an event in Athens on Thursday.

During his speech, the hotel chamber’s president, Yiorgos Tsakiris, said that the hosting of tourists in illegal tourism accommodation equals to legitimate hotels losing 12 million overnight stays, which translates to 554 million euros of less revenue.

The “sharing economy” trend thrives in the travel industry all over the world, with apartment or home owners using distribution channels to rent out private accommodation or even spare bedrooms to travelers seeking alternatives to traditional hotel stays.

Alternate Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura, Economy and Tourism Minister George Stathakis and Hellenic Chamber of Hotels President Yiorgos Tsakiris.

Alternate Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura, Economy and Tourism Minister George Stathakis and Hellenic Chamber of Hotels President Yiorgos Tsakiris.

Mr Tsakiris said that the “sharing economy” phenomenon may become the number one problem for the world of tourism. “This is actually a shadow economy that evolves unfortunately from the inability of the state to recognize and confront the phenomenon to date.”

According to the Grant Thornton study, the Greek State loses 260 million euros to 276 million euros annually by not taxing the income of owners that rent out their property through “sharing economy” platforms.

Furthermore, if the taxes imposed on legitimate hotels were also enforced on the “sharing economy” properties, government revenue would increase from anywhere between 322 million euros and 353 million euros annually.

According to the study, the “sharing economy” deprives 15,000 jobs per year from the sector.

Speaking during the event, Economy and Tourism Minister George Stathakis assured that the government intends to intervene and bring an end to the disorder that prevails in this new tourism trend.

Ηe pointed out that the so-called “sharing economy” in tourism creates obvious problems that include tax evasion, undeclared labor and unfair competition for accommodation businesses that operate legally.

Mr Stathakis added that the ministry is currently researching the practices followed by other countries that have already addressed the issue.

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