Attacks against the mayor of Athens Harry Doukas leaves the Athens-Attica and Argosaronic Hotel Association (EXAA), for the statements he made on Thursday at the Delphi Economic Forum.

Among other things, the EXAA also refers to the passerby fee, on the turnover of restaurants and hotels, as Mr. Doukas requested that the Municipalities should be given not 0.5% but 2%, as was originally the case. “Dear Mr. Mayor, why “especially hotels”?” asks the Union in its announcement.

“We would suggest that you discuss the purely touristic issues -and those of the infrastructures of Athens- with the scientific and professional bodies of Tourism and our city, as well as with co-competent Ministries – e.g. with the Ministry of Tourism – for the common benefit,” the statement said.

The announcement in detail

“We read with great interest a number of yesterday’s and today’s publications regarding the recent statements of the Mayor of Athens, Mr. Haris Doukas, in the context of the 9th Delphi Economic Forum.

There were references to the need to keep Athens clean, but also to ‘hypertourism’, to ‘oversaturated areas’, to part of the revenue that should be returned to the city… And we heard / read, among other things, the phrase of Mr. Doukas: “Whoever wins very large revenues utilizing the city’s infrastructure, something must also return to the city”. And we wonder: Are Athenian hotels contributing? Of course. Do they contribute the most? Of course. Are they controlled in everything and in the strictest way? Always. Have they refused to contribute in multiple ways to the city, even by donating to window projects, even by offering thousands of free rooms for tourism and culture, even to the complex social problems of our city? They never refused!

Has the Athenian Hotel already filed a series of investigations and studies on the city’s “carrying capacity” for tourist accommodation, for cleanliness, for guest satisfaction?

More generally, the work that the hotels of Athens have submitted – especially for the Municipality of Athens – as well as their financial contribution to Municipalities and the State through dozens of investment taxes and operating taxes paid by the hotels, (note the 22 taxes in number listed in a relevant INSET study, have now become 23 together with the recent ‘end of resilience to the climate crisis’) – is both known and measurable.

We can talk about all of the above with facts and figures.

However, frankly, we are surprised by phrases and expressions contained in the official D.T. of the Municipality of Athens

as an excerpt of his speech – such as:
• “In 2023, hotel revenues increased by close to 23%, i.e. they reached close to 11 billion euros. At the same time, the municipality in 2023-2024, based on its budget, was poorer.” Honorable Mr. Mayor, let us point out that the 11 billion euros clearly do not concern the Municipality of Athens, but the entire country.
• “I need to keep the city clean. This would normally apply to a city of 700,000 or less. But now I have to keep the city clean for 7 million residents and visitors. So, with the same resources, I have to keep Athens clean for three times the population.” Dear Mr. Mayor, out of the 7 million visitors you mention (note if and as long as there are indeed 7 million arriving visitors staying in Athens), how many stay only in hotels? Where else – apart from hotels – do visitors to Athens stay? Maybe also in apartment buildings that are not hotels, but that’s how they declare? Maybe also in apartments of all kinds in the ‘oversaturated areas’, which no one has checked so far and no one monitors their uncontrolled growth rate, the number of their beds that exceeds hotel beds, the quality of their offer – even the safety issues of the visitors ; What have already been pointed out by the existing studies and researches EXAAA, XEE, ITEP, INSETE etc. of the last decade regarding the unregulated development of short-term rental, its effects, on the economy, society, environment, etc.?

• Finally, we read: “Referring – the Mayor of Athens – to the vagrant fee, on the turnover of catering establishments and hotels, he requested that the Municipalities should be given not 0.5% but 2%, as was originally the case…. In this context, he said that he is considering a proposal for a hotel turnover tax, which would be differentiated from region to region.”

Dear Mr. Mayor, why especially “hotels”?

As he himself points out “we should find a way so that those who have a large income from tourism, using the city’s infrastructure, can contribute more to the city”.

We want to believe that clearly, you are referring to the others as well. But who are these others – when you are only referring to hotels?