Overnight tax is noose around the neck of Greek tourism

CORFU. The Federation of Entrepreneurs of Corfu Tourism Enterprises (OETK) claim that, with the overnight tax, the government is putting a noose around the neck of legitimate businesses and allowing illegal businesses to continue receiving customers with impunity.

November / 2017

The official announcement from OETK is as follows:

It seems that the government has forgotten its promise that, if there was a budgetary surplus, an overnight tax would not be imposed. Despite the fact that all the indications are that the Greek economy is making a steady recovery, there has been no official word from the government that it will be abolished.  

It needs to be understood that the imposition of the overnight fee is disastrous for the tourist business. While the Government can collect much more by clamping down on tax evasion from illegal villa and apartment rentals - estimated at over 270 million Euros annually – the overnight tax puts yet another burden on legal tourist accommodation, essentially leading to the destruction of thousands of healthy businesses.

It is generally accepted that tourism has been the only sector of the economy to continuously support the country in these years of crisis. The policy of imposing an overnight tax will inevitably lead tourist businesses to a dead end, with all the disastrous consequences that will have on the national GDP, employment and regional development – in which tourism plays such a vital role.

While the government is putting a noose around the necks of legal, healthy businesses, a huge black market in private accommodation remains immune to the state tax inspection system. These illegal businesses provide accommodation for visitors in an uncontrolled and unregulated way leading to an estimated loss to the state of 270 million Euros annually. Instead of seeking the unpaid taxes from at least 12 million overnight stays in illegal accommodation, some are even suggesting that they should be given support – thus encouraging this rampage of illegal competition.  

We call on the Greek Government to honour its commitments and not to impose the overnight tax. Even at this late stage, it should understand that the practical support of business and economic development will benefit society as a whole.