Greece introduces an accommodation tax

By | Category: Travel news
image from the air of Mykonos

A holiday on the Greek island of Mykonos will cost more this year – as will every Greek hotel and apartment accommodation wherever it is.

Greece is copying other destinations around the world by introducing a tourist tax (known as the Stayover Tax) as from the beginning of 2018.

It is based on the star rating of the accommodation in which you will stay and must be paid directly to the accommodation. Accommodation with a rating of one or two-stars will be charged 50 cents a night, (this includes apartments,) a rating of three stars will cost €1.5, at four-star hotels the rate is €3 and at five-star accommodations, the rate is €4. All prices are per person per night. (amended late January 2018 to rooms per night not per person and made retrospective to Jan 1st)

It seems that campsites, caravan parks and boats will not come under the scheme.

The country now joins a growing list of destinations that are seeking a slug of the tourists’ wallets. As taxes in Venice haven’t affected visitor numbers, destinations including Greece hope that they too can remain unaffected contrary to what local tourism organisations say.

Wales is also considering such a tax and the Welsh government will decide on whether to implement one during 2018. Edinburgh has tried to introduce a tax in the past and has run into legal problems but at national levels, governments are free to legislate at their whim.

Suggested as long ago as 2016, opposition has dogged the tax with tourist organisations hoping until almost the last minute that the tax would not come into force. Last October the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels released a study by the accountants Grant Thornton which suggested that, although the tax might generate between €84 and €94 million each year, the overall loss to the economy by holidaymakers staying away could be as high as €340 million.

The Greek Tourism Federation (known as SETE) claims that Greece is seen as an expensive destination compared to its competitors and fears that after 2018, (because contracts have already been signed with tour operators,) Greece could face difficulties attracting visitors.

Only time will tell which side is correct in its forecasting.

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