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Kountoura Says Gov’t Eyeing Offsetting Measures for Tourism Industry

XEE_thessaloniki_kountoura_1Alternate Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura announced changes to the criteria that accommodation facilities in Greece must meet in order to be awarded relevant classification following her meeting with the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels (HCH) in Thessaloniki, last week.

Addressing HCH’s 3rd regional meeting, which included hoteliers from Northern Greece, the minister said the government was examining the introduction of compensatory measures to apply in accommodation in efforts to offset the VAT hike on overnight stays.

Minister Kountoura added that authorities were in the meantime preparing the legal framework that will be enforced on hospitality units operating illegally, and that the ministry together with sector professionals was also looking into ways to deal with the issue of seasonality affecting many destinations.

HCH President George Tsakiris once again stressed the issue of the sharing economy and its negative impact on the sector. “The owners of apartment buildings and residential complexes as well as foreign homeowners rent out their properties under the guise of the sharing economy with the aid of online companies, benefiting, meanwhile, from tax-free tourist revenues amounting to millions, both at the expense of the national economy and government revenue and of the legitimate sector, which is facing unfair competition.”

“We must first urge the state to establish rules and to curb illegal accommodation but we must also guarantee the distinct advantage of quality of our product. To this end, the HCH is launching the new classification process,” Mr Tsakiris said.

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