From 1 January 2018 in Greece, a new tax for tourists is introduced - from 0,25 to 4 euro per night in a hotel, depending on its class.
The government hopes to increase the revenue part of the budget, in which tourism takes a significant share, through a new collection of more than 80 million euros. However, hoteliers and tour operators believe that the new tax will hit the industry, lead to a reduction in demand, turnover and the loss of thousands of jobs.
In Greece, tourism provides about 20% of GDP, in the tourism industry employs 1,3 million people. This year, according to forecasts of the Ministry of Tourism, Greece will visit about 30 million tourists, each of them left in the country on average 600 euro.
"Tax on living"
The law that every tourist who visits Greece will additionally pay for accommodation at the hotel was adopted back in May 2016, but the tax was introduced from 1 January 2018.
"Tax on accommodation" is charged daily from the tourist for the use of a hotel room, a rented apartment, a furnished apartment.
With the guests of five-star hotels will take an additional 4 euro per night, four-star - 3 euro, three-star - 1,5 euro, and hotels with one or two "stars" - 0,5 euro.
For renting one or two furnished rooms in apartments or an apartment the fee will be 0,25 euro, for three rooms - 0,5 euro and for four-room apartments - 1 euro.
The collection was introduced along with a package of other tough measures to stabilize the economy of Greece, which since 2009 has been in deep crisis. International creditors have set the condition for the allocation of regular tranches of loans for the country's policy of "tightening the belts" and taking severe austerity measures.
According to the Ministry of Finance, the new tax was supposed to give the budget an additional 84 million euros.
However, hoteliers and tour operators do not agree with this assessment. In their opinion, the very concept of such a tax is wrong, and in conditions of severe competition in the tourism market it can reduce the attractiveness of Greece.
A study by Grant Thornton, commissioned by the Greek Chamber of Commerce, states that the "residence tax" will be the strongest blow to the competitiveness of the Greek tourist product both in terms of price and quality, and in employment. In the medium term, the damage to the Greek economy from its application and the decrease in demand from tourists is estimated at 435 million euros, which is almost five times higher than the possible financial gain. As a result, the introduction of a new collection will result in the loss of almost 6,2 thousands of jobs,
Although the fee will not exceed 4 euro per room per day, it will affect the level of fees. In the world market, where the comparison of prices occurs through the Internet, every euro has a value, experts say.
"The tax itself is stupid, it's wrong initially." "Four euros a day for a five-star hotel." And let's figure out what a five-star hotel means-there is a hotel that costs almost a thousand euros a day, and there is a hotel in Athens that can be rented and for 80, and for 100 euro.It is strange that a tourist who pays a thousand euros a day will pay the same tax as a tourist who has rented a room for 100 euros, "RIA Novosti Managing Director of TEZ TOUR Greece Dimitris Haritidis .
According to him, in some countries there is a tourist fee, which is immediately included in the price of the room, and the tourist does not see it, and there are no such problems. In Cyprus, such a fee is 1% of the cost of the tour, accommodation, it is included in the price, and the hotel then makes deductions to the state. There is such a collection in Italy and Spain.
"In Greece, the new fee will be paid by the tourist on the spot, when leaving the hotel," Haritidis said, specifying that the collection will be taken for the number, not the person.
Haritidis stressed that every tour operator is obliged to warn the tourist when buying a tour, that its cost does not include the tourist fee, and to name the amount. This is mandatory information, it must be in every contract, he added.
Haritidis also noted that while the new collection did not affect the growth of sales of tours for the next year. "On the contrary, there is a huge increase in sales on early booking from Western countries and from Russia," said the representative of the travel company.
"The entire tourist world tells the state that there will be damage, and the state is responsible - we see a growth in booking, and so far no damage is visible," he said.
Haritidis expressed the hope that the collection would be canceled.
"The government said that this collection is temporary, it will be in the season of 2018-2019, and then it will be removed." Although I can not believe, "the expert said.