ECONOMY

Many tourists pay to stay in illegal rooms

many-tourists-pay-to-stay-in-illegal-rooms

The phenomenon of illegal accommodation facilities in Greece is growing into a major source of tax evasion, according to 2014 data on arrivals and overnight stays at hotels and campsites in Greece published on Friday by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT).

The figures show that arrivals at hotels and campsites last year grew 8.7 percent year-on-year to reach 17,743,493. The rise in foreign holidaymakers who stayed at the abovementioned facilities amounted to 13.3 percent from 2013, but the increase in tourism arrivals in Greece (not including arrivals by cruise ships) reached up to 23 percent, to 22 million.

Although the data are not fully comparable, as they do not include those who stayed at legitimate rooms for rent and a significant number of visitors come to Greece on day trips, it is clear that a large portion of tourists coming to the country head to illegal accommodation run by people who do not pay taxes on their earnings.

The number of nights spent by tourists at hotels and campsites in Greece expanded by 5.5 percent from 2013 to reach up to 75,390,445, ELSTAT said.