BUSINESS

Hoteliers struggle to stay afloat

STATHIS KOUSOUNIS

TAGS: Tourism, Economy

Two in every five hotel enterprises in Greece are at risk of bankruptcy, as the tax burden on them is too heavy for them to be sustainable, according to a survey presented at a sector conference.

The president of the Confederation of Tourism Accommodation Entrepreneurs of Greece (SETKE), Constantinos Brentanos, told the annual general meeting of the association that 40 percent of members are threatened by bankruptcy as the tax obligations on top of operating, salary and other expenses have made their survival uncertain.

Despite his positive outlook about the course of tourism arrivals from abroad compared to last year, Brentanos stressed that a series of factors, both internal and external, render any forecast about the industry’s performance this year very risky.

Those factors include terrorist attacks in other countries and the refugee crisis and its management combined with the austerity measures.

The SETKE chief also referred to the phenomenon of “property sharing,” which affects the business environment in tourism entrepreneurship and constitutes a source of tax evasion. In this context he estimated that over 100,000 properties in Greece are advertised as tourist accommodation by online platforms that are active in this domain.

He also noted that as of November 1, 2015, the state has allowed the short-term rental of all properties without their owners having to obtain the special stamp for the operation of tourism accommodation. Since then, he added, the economy has been awaiting a explanatory circular to clarify a series of issues, such as how and when those rentals will be declared, what the size of their taxation rate will be, how apartments in blocks of flats and houses within private complexes will be leased etc.

Brentanos stressed that all of the above should have been regulated by law, as the turnover of that market exceeded 2.2 billion euros last year.

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