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New Decree to Ease Sale of Properties for Tourism Development

A presidential decree ready to be signed opens the way for tourism development projects on large land plots by the private sector. Projects would combine hotel resorts and holiday home complexes that would be up for sale or taken on a long-term lease basis, according to recent press releases.

Parliament has already approved legislation for the building of holiday homes on land owned by state-controlled Hellenic Tourism Properties and single private land properties of more than 30 hectares in area. The law includes a provision that holiday homes built on such plots could not occupy more than 35 percent of the total built-up area.

The presidential decree pending signature sets the restrictions for such holiday home facilities that may be leased on a long-term basis or sold. It also deals with issues relating to the transfer of property rights. According to the press reports, the draft decree stipulates that the hotel facilities in such resorts must be of a four- or five-star quality category.

The maximum 35 percent of the built-up area allowed for residential use apply to totals of up to 100 hectares, but which would be reduced by 2 percent thereafter for each additional 10 hectares. However, a ceiling of 10 percent of constructed facilities is set for homes on land larger than 200 hectares. In cases of land plots where tourism installations already exist, the segment on which new facilities are to be built has to measure at least 30 hectares and here the 35 percent maximum would apply.

The duration of home leases will be 60 years. If the remainder of the lease exceeds nine years, the lessee is entitled to transfer full rights to a third party without the agreement of the lessor.

In order to promote the parallel construction of hotel resorts and holiday homes, the decree provides that the transfer of ownership of homes can only take place after the completion of tourism installations (hotels, pools or sports facilities).

Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos is said to be confident that the new framework will ensure that investment will be viable and contribute to the extension of the Greek holiday season, as owners or lessees of such properties will make use of them outside peak season. He said that similar development schemes have been successfully applied in Spain and France.

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