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Greece’s Hotel Chamber to launch “Travel-Hospitality Accelerator” for Start-ups

The Hellenic Chamber of Hotels (HCH) announced that it would launch a “Travel – Hospitality Accelerator”, a first-of-its-kind program that will accelerate tourism startups and turn new ideas into successful businesses in Greece.

Speaking during the chamber’s 8th General Assembly on Friday, Chamber President Alexandros Vassilikos stressed that the acceleration program will aim to bring young Greek tourism entrepreneurs closer to the Greek hotel industry as well as to other foreign markets.

“We really believe that we can be at the forefront of this technological wave, by making good use of brand Greece, with a vision and proper planning,” Vassilikos said, referring to the creation of the first Travel – Hospitality Accelerator.

“We have a duty to open new digital roads and create new areas of opportunities for the younger generation that has knowledge, talent and the will to create and be distinguished. Tourism acts as a catalyst for a new dynamic, for a new developmental model based on our strengths and creativity.”

The chamber is expected to announce details regarding the Travel – Hospitality Accelerator in due time.

During the general assembly, Vassilikos underlined the chamber’s main priorities for 2019.

He said that the chamber’s main priority will be to continue its documented approach to all issues that concern Greek hospitality, in line with its role as the sector’s institutional advisor to the government. In this context, he referred to the upgrading of the Institute for Tourism Research and Forecasts (ITEP), the chamber’s research arm, which has been reinforced with a new team of experts.

The chamber’s second priority will be to constantly encourage its members to offer high quality services.

At this point, the HCH’s president presented the course of the chamber’s main actions – the “Greek Breakfast” and the “Boutique Hotel” programs – two initiatives that are considered highly significant in the effort to further improve the quality of the Greek tourism product.

Vassilikos said that the chamber’s third priority for 2019 will focus on innovation and making use of new technology applications. “The so-called ‘digital transformation’ for hotel businesses,” he said.

He underlined the need to ease the tax burden for hotels and called for the abolition of the “stayover tax” (or residence tax, which is charged to hotel guests), as well as a slash in the value-added tax (VAT) rate so the sector can boost its competitiveness.

“We must keep Greek tourism high. Tourism is now too big to risk losing, he noted.

“It is unheard of that hotels these days are still exposed and unprotected against the unfair competition of short-term rentals,” Vassilikos said, adding that swifter steps must be taken towards regulation rules and their credible application.

Vassilikos also referred to the current “absurd” copyright and related rights fees that accommodation facilities are required to pay to collecting societies for the use of television in the rooms.

“This is a sick system, which violates the spirit of reciprocity,” he stressed. – via

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