February 8, 2023

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Short-term rentals: Airbnb hosts protest

The Panhellenic Association of Property Managers is protesting that the government is preparing to take action to limit short-term rentals.

The association calls for a constructive dialogue with the government, while strongly protesting how the government is preparing to take measures to limit the activities of short-term rental platforms (like Airbnb). In a letter to the Prime Minister and the competent ministries, PAΑΣΥΔΑ acknowledges that there are problems and issues that need to be addressed, but indicates that there should be constructive dialogue between stakeholders to find solutions, which will not restrict activity.

This type of activity – the offer of services that makes a significant contribution (a large percentage) to the country’s tourism product, in addition, lays a solid foundation for the healthy and sustainable development of tourism around the world. As stated in the announcement of the PAΑΣΥΔΑ meeting, “We find it incredible that the government intends to impose restrictions and prepare changes to the current legislative framework and persistently refuse to discuss with representatives of our industry.”

Short Stays and the Tourist Pie

According to PAΑΥΔΑ and based on data from official agencies and organizations, short stays not only do not take away a piece of the pie from hoteliers, but also add another, much larger one, with an ever-growing trend. This can also be seen in hotel occupancy which is over 90%, reaching 100% in many areas. According to PAΑΣΥΔΑ, the preparation of any time or space restrictions proposed by hotel owners, will lead to a decrease in the number of visitors to our country, since there are no additional beds in hotels to cover this increase. But even if we had more hotels, short-term visitors would not choose a hotel room for their vacation, but would rather visit other countries. “Therefore, the reduction of tourism in our country would be inevitable even in conditions when it is the tourist product that brings income to the state treasury,” the leadership of PAΑΣΥΔΑ believes.

The answer to the tax evasion question

The meeting of the PAΑΣΥΔΑ members was devoted, in particular, to tax evasion issue cited by hoteliers side. As the management of PAΑΥΔΑ emphasizes, “since more than 90% of properties are declared in the Register of short-term residence, the sector is the only one in the country that is taxed directly and without tax evasion. Each booking is declared on the register and is automatically subject to E2 tax each year. Tax evasion is impossible because AAΔE regularly receives booking data from platforms such as AIRBNB, BOOKING.COM, VRBO, etc. and, based on data cross-checks, has the ability to detect even the smallest cases of evasion in near real time by imposing fines. Among other things, it is noted that “short-term housing belongs to the category of city rent with a tax rate that reaches even 45%, which is the highest rate in our country.”

Cleanliness and safety

Regarding the issue of cleanliness and safety of short-term accommodation, according to PAΑΣΥΔΑ, “most of them in Greece are completely renovated and furnished at the expense of the owner, and none of us have access to programs and subsidies ΕΣΠΑwhich are received primarily by hoteliers, but also without the right to deduct expenses double taxed by the tax system.

In addition, data published by Airbnb and Booking.com regarding short-term stay ratings shows that Greek owners and managers of these properties are among the top five in the world with the largest and highest percentage of positive ratings.”

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