More than two years after it was first discussed, the new tourism legislation finally was submitted to parliament for approval.
Discussion of the legislation was scheduled for the end of last month.
Initially, the legislation was planned to establish a foundation for spa tourism development, but has since evolved into a complex document covering many additional aspects of tourism development.
According to Minister of Tourism Development Fani Palli-Petralia the new legislation regulates ownership, use and management of the country’s mineral springs, creates the first register of mineral springs and designates the framework for developing tourism and related facilities at the springs. Besides spas, the legislation is intended to reduce bureaucracy for issuing operating permits for tourism lodgings.
More importantly, it opens the road for tourism investment by making the competition process for exploiting real estate held by ETA (Tourism Development Co.) more flexible without doing away with the oversight of the Inter-ministerial Privatization Committee.
The legislation also covers hotel debts and classification, advertising, long-term leasing of church properties, education, privatization and the creation of new positions in the tourism ministry.