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The sharing economy is here to stay

25 November 2014 / 23:11:20  GRReporter
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The electronic platforms offering apartments or houses for rent are a worldwide trend, which has gathered momentum over the last few years in Greece as well, with data from the hoteliers’ chamber showing that over 80,000 properties have been rented short-term within the framework of the sharing economy.

This fact has become a matter of special concern to Greek hoteliers who believe the national economy has lost more than €1 billion in the form of unpaid tax and social insurance on behalf of property owners.

On the other hand, they are aware that for various groups of tourists this way of finding accommodation is rather attractive. Therefore, the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels organised an international conference to discuss the effects of the sharing economy on tourism and hotel management. A study on the same subject, authored by a group of international experts and researchers, was presented at the conference.

While discussing some of the study’s results, April Rinn emphasised that seeing the sharing economy as a result of the crisis was wrong. She argued that after decades of overconsumption people are looking for more sustainable patterns of economic behaviour. The second reason is the development of technologies, and the third – demographics. "Present and future tourists are people aged from 18 to 35. They do not know what the world was like without the electronic devices, which facilitate communications and help them carry out all kinds of searches. Today these people constitute one third of the world population," said Rinn.

And since the underlying subject was development, the overwhelming argument was the revenues from the sharing economy. In 2013 they reached $3.5 billion. Rinn believes Greece has all the factors necessary for the development of the sharing economy in its tourism. She suggested taxation and electronic platform regulation systems, which accommodate the specifics of the Greek market, and recommended hoteliers to seek ways to collaborate with the platforms.

The board chairman of the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels, George Tsakiris, underlined the need to adopt unified criteria for competition across hotel services with the aim of sustaining a healthy and fair market. He presented examples of various electronic platforms offering thousands of accommodations throughout Greece's best tourist destinations.

On her part, minister of tourism Olga Kefalogianni pointed out that fast adaptation to world trends is a prerequisite for the development of Greek tourism in the coming years. "We're not trying to buck innovation. We are monitoring the trends to the benefit of the whole sector, we observe the legal requirements and only intervene to protect the public interest."

The minister also said that the vigorous tourism growth in 2014 inspires optimism and listed a few key objectives of her ministry: renewal of tourist infrastructure, diversifying the tourist product, encouraging tourists’ spending in the country, promoting new destinations and new types of tourism, bolstering employment in the sector, providing support to sustainable tourist businesses and allocating tourism revenue surpluses to provinces and local communities.





Tags: economy markets sharing economy tourism electronic platforms Greek hoteliers
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