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Passport Info for Athens Tour


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We are on the Reflection in May that visits Athens. I have arranged a tour with privategreecetours.com and he just asked me for my passport number and country because the Greek government has now made this data mandatory for travel related services.

 

Has anyone heard of this requirement?

 

Thanx

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We have received the same question in TA, twice already.

It's almost sure it has to do with recent tax law requirements or bank regulations regarding use of credit cards.

 

Give me some time to make some questions around. I 'll try to define what's going on and post relative information here in CC and in TA.

 

-----------------

 

EDIT: still trying to find a definite answer.

One possible explanation is they need a name and id to charge a credit card.

I am almost sure also that if this has to do with credit card use, it *may* somehow and at some extent be contradicting local laws regarding protection of personal data, although these laws are not always very very clear, anywhere int he world.

Edited by nick_arch
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Two are the possible explanations ( still just assumptions / not suggestions to provide the data ):

 

1. either travel agencies have to collect these data for reasons related to use of credit cards ( in order to purchase a service or goods in Greece, exhibiting id along with the credit card is mandatory ).

2. or travel agencies have to collect these data for tax related information, specifically for cross checks local tax service needs to do to "dig" hidden expenses and, consequently, hidden incomes from local tax residents.

 

I still don't have definite answer, nor this is a suggestion to provide your data.

 

I 'd probably mail back, asking the reason for the collection of these data.

Edited by nick_arch
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I also just received a request this morning from Nikos Loukos for our tour on Rhodes. Of course, the first thing I did was come here to CC to post the question and saw this thread.

 

In my email, Nikos stated that "the Greek government has now made this data mandatory for the service industry. The Government’s aim is to make sure that every income is declared. As a visitor from another country your passport is the only proof of identity as the person who reserved the service."

 

Evidently, since we are all receiving the same request at the same time from different companies, it must be a new requirement. Not sure how comfortable I am with that!

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Unfortunately we are used to these things in Europe indeed, which seems to be a little weird about these things compared to the States or Australia.

 

In Italy for example, you can't use a pc at an Internet cafe, unless you exhibit your passport, which is photocopied ( ! ) and copy is kept at the Internet cafe. I was gobsmacked first time i went through this in Venice some years ago; definitely unexpected.

 

Typically, any bank transaction here, in Greece, needs proof of identity. You want money from a cashier in a bank? This means you 'll have to show proof of identity. In specific cases, these records are kept, especially when importing money and some paper trail is generated. I still don't know if this has become mandatory for online purchases of services.

 

( I still haven't managed to find a definite confirmation of what is needed and online reference of some specific law ).

Edited by nick_arch
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I also received the same request from Private Greece Tours today for our Athens tour. I told him I was uncomfortable with sharing that sort of sensitive information and asked if some other information could be substituted. If this continues to be a requirement, I can see a big boost to ship excursions!

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I understand how this feels uncomfortable, still passport number is not sensitive data. SSN is though and this is not what asked.

 

On a similar path, unfortunately, it is usual requirement to provide your passport and it to be photocopied when you check in in many European hotels, on top of providing a credit card. You may want to read a similar conversation, about hotel check-in in Trip Advisor, from London forum, here: http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g186338-i17-k5353060-Passport_needed_to_check_in_hotel-London_England.html

 

A credit card itself does not substitute ID in EU. I understand Americans don't have id's, meaning a federal document that's nation wide, so it sounds a bit orwellic for Europe to be a little more obsessed about these things : )

 

I share the same opinion with you. A simple credit card should be enough for checking-in in a hotel or booking a simple travel service.

Edited by nick_arch
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I also received the same request from Private Greece Tours today for our Athens tour. I told him I was uncomfortable with sharing that sort of sensitive information and asked if some other information could be substituted. If this continues to be a requirement, I can see a big boost to ship excursions!

 

But the ship will have your nationality and passport information and in future will presumably have to provide it to the tour operators they use for their excursions, so a large number of people will have access to the information anyway. And the ship certainly won't be bothering to ask for your permission or inform you what they're doing. If you're really bothered about it (and being used to travel in Europe, I'm not) the only solution is to DIY. In any case, you have no way of knowing how many people already have access to the passport details you have given the cruise line, either at home or in the ports you visit.

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In any case, you have no way of knowing how many people already have access to the passport details you have given the cruise line, either at home or in the ports you visit.

 

I am afraid i agree.

 

SSN is the most sensitive number as far as i get it and this is never asked. I also understand though that some difference exists between USA and Europe, on the case of "passport number" being indeed considered sensitive data; or not.

 

What i get is that it is considered sensitive data in the States but not at all in Europe, where it can easily spill out even at an Internet cafe, or a purchase of a local cell phone number or a hotel check-in.

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Rightly or wrongly, I have confidence that my cruise line will not misuse the information. I understand why they are collecting it. In my years of cruising, I've never had any problem with it falling into the wrong hands. However, I work in the fraud prevention area and I know a false identity can be established with a passport number just as easily as a SSN. I would hope that enough push-back would convince the government to find an alternative. That's just my opinion, so please don't view it as a criticism of the information you've been kind enough to share!

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I definitely agree; definitely on your side of thinking and i wish a simple credit card number was enough. Even this is NOT supposed to be recorded though and i have made a huge fuss in local IKEA, in Athens, when they were so stupid to write credit card numbers on the paper receipt cashiers print through the POS when you pay with a credit card. My voice could be heard all the way to the airport, which is 1 - 2 miles away i guess, even if i was getting trivial.

 

I also feel uncomfortable with this; not using travel services here in Greece since i live here but i had to give my passport number elsewhere in Europe.

 

Exhibiting personal documents is one thing, keeping and editing records of sensitive data is another.

 

I tried to find some definite information but, i am really sorry, i couldn't find any additional information, besides my personal assumption. I 'll give it another go again following days.

Edited by nick_arch
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I don't know that there is a problem, Either don't supply passport info and don't go on the excursion or supply required info and enjoy the excursion.

 

Hotels in Europe and China all require your passport at check in.

Edited by Donray
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I definitely agree; definitely on your side of thinking and i wish a simple credit card number was enough. Even this is NOT supposed to be recorded though and i have made a huge fuss in local IKEA, in Athens, when they were so stupid to write credit card numbers on the paper receipt cashiers print through the POS when you pay with a credit card. My voice could be heard all the way to the airport, which is 1 - 2 miles away i guess, even if i was getting trivial.

 

I also feel uncomfortable with this; not using travel services here in Greece since i live here but i had to give my passport number elsewhere in Europe.

 

Exhibiting personal documents is one thing, keeping and editing records of sensitive data is another.

 

I tried to find some definite information but, i am really sorry, i couldn't find any additional information, besides my personal assumption. I 'll give it another go again following days.

 

Thank you for your help. I appreciate your unbiased and honest response.

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Providing your passport number and nationality in advance has been required for booking excursions with private companies in St. Petersburg, Russia for years. So it's not unheard of in the tourism industry. If you are booking with a reputable agent, there should be no problem. Do as much research as you can on the agent, but in the end, providing the passport info should not be that big of a deal. Mine has been photocopied and handled in many, many locations in Europe through the years.

Edited by MeHeartCruising
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Big deal ! So what ? Most Hotels ask for your Passport details . Whats the big deal you are a guest in Greece that does not require you to have a Visa, so it is not an unreasonable request .

 

Either you provide the details or you don't stay in a Greek Hotel or go on a Greek tour . Simple as that .

 

The reasoning no doubt is to trap any illegal Immigrants who are entering Greece and taking jobs that in the first instance should be taken by Greek citizens .

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I have been following this thread - I appreciate the insight from more experienced European travelers and residents. In the US, we are constantly bombarded with warnings to not give out sensitive information, so it feels very unusual and somewhat uncomfortable to give out what I consider "sensitive", i.e. my passport number. It is because of Cruise Critic and Trip Advisor that I feel better about using this tour. For one thing, I'm glad to know I'm not the only one getting this request.

 

Thank you!

Edited by kddy
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When traveling (especially overseas) you are already asked to provide your passport number to airlines and cruise lines. Often hotels and tour providers will ask for it. When you purchase something in a store you may also be asked to show it (and they may write the number down).

 

This is common and it's what a passport is for -- to use as an identifying document. As long as you have the ACTUAL passport in your possession, there isn't much they can do with a passport number.

 

Here's an article that may help reassure you:

http://www.rushmypassport.com/blog/2009/07/if-someone-steals-your-passport-number-should-you-apply-for-a-new-passport/

 

This isn't to say I would be careless with it or give it out without reason, but certainly I wouldn't have an issue giving it to a well-vetted tour provider.

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Specifically in Greece for years the Government has required all Hotels to record the Passport details of Overseas Guests . The information gleaned is used by Tourist Authorities for tourist facility planning, and also in Greece and some other European countries with similar practices to track/catch illegal immigrants, people overstaying their tourist entry day allowance etc .

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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 years later...
I just received the same request from Greece Private Tours lst night, and I was very happy to find this thread. It still makes me very uncomfortable, but it's good to know that it is not totally out of the norm and that I am not the only one.

 

What troubles me is that Private Greece Tours (which I am guessing is the same as Greece Private Tours?) is the *only* tour company I am seeing asking for passport information. Surely they can't be the only company who is obeying the law, right?

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