NEWS

18 hotels closed in central Athens this year

A combination of a drop in bookings, increased expenses due to taxation and the ongoing decline of the quality of life in downtown Athens has led to the closure of 18 hotels in the area in 2011, according to data revealed by the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels (HCH) on Monday.

Meanwhile, at a joint press conference with Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis, HCH president Giorgos Tsakiris warned that unless the rising crime rate in central Athens is brought under control, more hotels will be forced to close down in 2012 as well.

Tsakiris attributed the decline in activity from domestic and foreign tourists to the «oversight and indifference» of the Citizens’ Protection Ministry in regards to burgeoning crime such as robberies, prostitution and drug dealing, saying that the authorities have allowed Athens to «fall prey to crime and transgressions of the law.”

Responding to concerns about the decline of the city center, Kaminis said that following his meeting with Prime Minister Lucas Papademos last Friday, the municipality is drafting a law «for the salvation of Athens,» stressing the need for better coordination between central government, and regional and local authorities, as «the municipality has the structures and the others have the funds» to rein in crime and improve conditions.