Athens Mayor Raises Alarm Over Tourism Revenue Decline

Athens 3

In an exclusive article with 'Kathimerini', Athens Mayor Haris Doukas,  highlighted concerning statistics regarding the municipality's tourism revenue.

Despite Athens experiencing a surge in tourist arrivals, particularly in 2023, the city's income from tourism was shockingly low, amounting to just 2,714,664 euros. This figure represents a significant decrease of approximately 50% compared to 2007, despite the number of hotels and accommodation options in the central sector of Athens experiencing substantial growth over the past decade.

Doukas emphasised the mismatch between increasing demands for services and infrastructure and the dwindling resources available to address them. He pointed out that Athens is evolving into a year-round tourist destination, with hotel occupancy rates even rising in December. However, the municipality is struggling with understaffing and insufficient resources, exacerbated by frozen hirings and a significant number of retirements annually.

Moreover, Doukas underscored the financial strain caused by reduced revenues during the country's debt crisis and the inadequacy of state funding, which fails to reflect the city's actual population and visitor numbers. In response to these challenges, Doukas proposed two key measures: restoring the visitor's tax to its original percentage of 2% and directing revenue from the "resilience fee" imposed on hotels and short-term rentals to local government.

The Mayor urged solidarity and collaboration among stakeholders to address the pressing issues facing Athens, emphasising the importance of tourism professionals as natural allies in the city's development. He stressed the municipality's commitment to leveraging all available resources to enhance services and infrastructure for residents and visitors alike, calling for collective efforts to unlock Athens' full potential as a capital, tourist destination, and place of residence.

(Source: Kathimerini)

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