Overrun With Hotels, Greece Will Be Getting More


(Photo by Eurokinissi/ Dimitropoulos Sotiris)

ATHENS- Despite an oversupply of hotel rooms - as the sector is facing biting competition from short-term rental such as Airbnb and others - developers are eager to add even more across Greece, with is already saturated with them.

Athens, Thessaloniki and popular islands already have too many rooms to accommodate even record numbers of tourists the past few years, with short-term rentals siphoning off as many as a million people a year, and growing.

More companies want to turn medium-sized or large properties into tourism accommodation units such as boutique hotels in a bid to deal with Airbnb and its rivals that are taking over whole neighborhoods in Greece’s capital.

Earlier this year, Dimitris Andriopoulos, chairman and CEO of Dimand Real Estate, which moved into the hotel sector, said that “We are seeing the mass creation of hotels of 15 rooms each – just as was the case with ice cream stores and video clubs.”

The flurry of new hotel openings has forced the industry’s main fair, Xenia, which opens its gates Nov. 23 at the Metropolitan Expo Center at Spata, to impose strict gatekeeping to prevent congestion.

“Some hoteliers are so new to the industry that they do not know what to ask for, they appear confused,” the man behind interior architecture and concept design studio The Interesting Design, Achilleas Kritikos, told Kathimerini’s English Edition.

This oversupply, the report said, will have a major impact on next year’s occupancy rates, given also the growth of short-term rentals, which are constantly eating into hotels’ tourism market share.

In September, 2018 the President of the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels, Alexandros Vassilikos, whose industry has been hit by additional overnight stay taxes, said that the pace of visitors preferring not to stay in hotels was picking up. Despite the big numbers of visitors, hotels showed only a marginal increase.

“It is clear that either home sharing or illegal hotels absorb a major number of visitors,” said Vassilikos, with hoteliers pressing the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA-led coalition to stop the competition “Data on those rooms have not been formally recorded,” he added, saying the short-term stay market had an unfair advantage.

In what could be an even more ominous trend for Greek hotels, despite growing interest by investors in building luxury accommodations and resorts, more tourists want to use short-term rentals of apartments and homes such as Airbnb and Homeaway.