Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis on Sunday said that short-term rental platforms “have a place” in Greece’s tourism industry but also “have obligations”.
Speaking during the three-day parliamentary reading of the new government’s program statements, Minister Theoharis made a special reference to properties in Greece that are being rented for the short-term to tourists through platforms such as Airbnb.
“For us, the ministry, short-term rentals are part of the tourism industry. This was not the case in the past and that is why there was a relatively hostile attitude of the ministry towards them,” he said and referred to his recent meeting with representatives of the Greek Property Managers Association (PASIDA).
“Short-term rentals have a place on the table for tourism discussions,” he said, adding that while property owners can make proposals and demands, they also have obligations to preserve both the quality of the tourism experience (in Greece) as well as its social footprint.
“Illegality and tax evasion are not tolerable,” Minister Theoharis warned.
PASIDA: Properties not listed on registry should be banned
The meeting between the tourism ministry and PASIDA, which represents owners that lease their properties through short-term rental platforms, took place last Thursday.
According to an announcement by the association, Greece’s new tourism minister is aiming to complete the legislative framework concerning short-term rentals and to simplify any bureaucratic procedures.
“We were happy to hear that the ministry has no intention to limit the activity of short-term rentals,” PASIDA said.
During the meeting, the association’s representatives proposed for the ministry to request for home sharing platforms to ban properties that are not listed on Greece’s online registry and therefore not paying taxes to the government.
“By not paying any taxes on their earnings, these operators lower their prices as they wish, creating a big problem of unfair competition to owners that are legally listed (on the registry),” PASIDA said.
According to data, there are over 95,000 active Greek property listings on the Airbnb platform. Out of these, over 35,000 properties in Greece (25,000 on Airbnb and an additional 10,000 on other platforms) are not filed on the registry of Greece’s Independent Authority for Public Revenue (AADE) and are tax evading
“If this measure (the ban) is applied, more than 35,000 properties will return to long-term leasing, thereby greatly reducing the difficulty of finding accommodation to rent for a long period of time,” the association said.