Aiming to raise awareness over a recently passed law covering thematic and special interest tourism which changes the way rented furnished rooms or apartments are certified, the Hellenic Association of Accredited Certification and Inspection Bodies (Hellas Cert) held an event on Tuesday, calling yet again on the government to clarify and re-examine its decision.
According to the said law, the competent body for the issue of the optional classification certificate for rented furnished rooms or apartments is from now on in the hands of the state-run regional tourism services.
The classification of accommodation (rooms or apartments) enterprises is approved by the government’s One-Stop Shop (OSS) services, or through the General Commercial Registry (GEMI). Both actions were until now carried out by the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels (HCH).
According to Hellas Cert, 33 certification bodies have gone ahead under the previous legal framework to invest in gaining accreditation by the National Accreditation System (ESYD) as well as in recruiting and training more than 900 professionals to carry out the inspections.
The association notes that “already understaffed” regional services will not be able to carry out an additional 40,000 on-the-spot checks and proceed with certifications within the next 12 months as foreseen by the law.
Hellas Cert underlines that, the HCH worked in collaboration with the 33 certification bodies to carry out the inspections ensuring speed, reliability, and international standards were met. At the same time, all procedures are carried out, supervised and archived through a modern information system designed, implemented and maintained by the HCH, ensuring reliability, reduction of bureaucracy and full monitoring and control of the process.
The association is urging the tourism ministry to allow the HCH and the accredited certification bodies to continue carrying out inspections, and the regional tourism services to supervise the procedure and the issue of classification certificates in order to ensure a smooth continuation of the process, transparency, and to avoid disruption.
Hellas Cert adds that although the model implemented was considered successful and welcomed by both economy and tourism sector policymakers as well as by tourism professionals, the government did not include the certification bodies in deliberations before the bill went to parliament.
According to Hellas Cert, instead of moving forward, the decision to assign accreditation to state services is hindering progress made, in contrast to common international practice, where certification is performed by independent accredited bodies.