Two parallel markets in tourism
by Ilias Bellos, ekathimerini.com, 19 February 2017
Short-term property leases to tourists through websites such as Airbnb are becoming increasingly in Greece, as
a regulation for their taxation has still not gone into force. Meanwhile, it is estimated that for every 100 hotel
beds in Athens there are another 70 offered through the "grey" market on the Internet. There are similar rates
in other parts in the country.
Grant Thornton calculated over a year ago that the size of that market in Greece was close to 1.5 billion euros,
but given the rapid increase recorded (with Koukaki in downtown Athens being Airbnb’s sixth most rapidly developing
area in the world) this is estimated to have more than doubled already.
This translates into state revenue losses of some 195 million euros per year for the first 1.5 billion euros of
turnover, according to the Grant Thornton study, and as much as 400 million euros if the industry has indeed doubled.
Unofficial estimates speak of up to 100,000 properties on offer via Internet platforms for short-term leasing,
against 50,000 in 2015.
Therefore, there is the official hotel sector, whose taxation keeps increasing – through the rise in value-added
tax rates, the upcoming tax per night's stay and the general tax and social security hikes on corporations – and
a parallel sector of accommodation through the economy of sharing that for the time being evades taxation.