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Greek Authorities Working on Health Protocols for Airbnbs

Greek authorities are drawing up health protocols to be applied by short-term rental operators in Greece, in the aftermath of the Covid-19 crisis, revealed Giacomo Trovato, Airbnb Country Manager Italy and South-East Europe during the online Delphi Economic Forum 2020 this week.

Trovato confirmed that the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) in collaboration with the National Public Health Organization (EODY) were establishing detailed health standards to be implemented by all owners leasing out their properties for tourism purposes.

Trovato said he expects the short-term rental market -impacted by the coronavirus pandemic – to recover lost ground, adding that the Greek market is showing strong signs of improvement driven in large part by domestic tourism. Trovato noted that during the same period last year, 80 percent of all bookings had been made by foreigners.

“Since early May, the picture has started improving, not only in terms of new bookings that are doubling every two weeks, but also in the total number of properties, which now add up to 123,000, some 4,000 more than in 2019,” he said.

Nikos Rousanoglou, Greek journalist and Giacomo Trovato, Airbnb Country Manager Italy and South-East Europe.

Demonstrating a last-minute trend in holiday planning this year,  Trovato said 60 percent of all reservations for Airbnb rentals were for June and 20 percent for July. He did however add that he expected bookings for August to pick up soon as well as those for the fall period adding that Greece’s mild weather allows for a longer season.

Trovato concluded that Airbnb’s strong presence in Greece is based on flexible cancellation policies, stringent hygiene standards, and a wide choice of offers re-adapted to limited holiday budgets.

Greece’s Airbnb Market Feels the Covid-19 Effect

Meanwhile, in the aftermath of Covid-19, Airbnb-style rentals have been trying to adapt to the new reality so that owners can begin to recover lost ground, a recent study carried out by the Commercial and Industrial Chamber of Athens (EBEA) and Ernst & Young reveals.

According to the report, the value of the short-term rentals market, and particularly of Airbnb, plunged from 31 billion dollars in March 2017 to 18 billion dollars in April this year impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

The report goes on to add that the short-term rentals market is working to finding ways to implement new health standards and protocols to ensure the safety of users.

Photo source: Airbnb

Airbnb recently launched its “Enhanced Cleaning Initiative” – the first standardized protocol for cleaning and sanitization in the home-sharing industry after Covid-19.

At the same time, due to the uncertainty surrounding tourism flows and health standards, a number of properties previously rented out as Airbnbs are now on the market for long-term rental.

Indicative of the trend is an up to 44.4 percent rise in the number of properties available for long-term rental in Athens depending on the region, with a corresponding decline in those on offer for short-term lease through Airbnb.

The study goes on to add that the Airbnb market is now an integral part of the Greek tourism sector, adding that short term rentals, which have increased mainly in popular tourism destinations, do not impact the operation or performance of 3- to 5-star hotels in the Athens municipality as each covers a different tourist segment.

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About the Author
Chicago-born and raised, Maria Paravantes has over two decades of journalistic experience covering tourism and travel, gastronomy, arts, music and culture, economy and finance, politics, health and social issues for international press and media. She has worked for Reuters, The Telegraph, Huffington Post, Billboard Magazine, Time Out Athens, the Athens News, Odyssey Magazine and, among others. She has also served as Special Advisor to Greece’s minister of Foreign Affairs, and to the mayor of Athens on international press and media issues. Maria is currently a reporter, content and features writer for GTP Headlines.

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