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New Tourism Investment Incentives Announced

Tourism Development Deputy Minister Anastassios Liaskos has announced investment incentives for the tourism sector, which he said would relieve the country’s hoteliers of considerable red tape.

The measures, announced recently to hotel union representatives in Thessaloniki, include a legal clause exempting hotels built after 1990 from submitting environmental effects studies. The same will apply to 50-bed units within town zoning areas. And a simple study will be required for hotels both within and outside town limits with 100-bed capacity.

Furthermore, he said the ministry was preparing a regulation concerning the use designation of hotels in the countryside that remain shut or whose operation is not deemed viable. Hotel units will also be able to expand if built on plots of land of one hectare or over, while today the threshold is two hectares.

Hotel representatives who spoke during the event said that the tragic situation of the domestic hotel industry in the last four years calls for even greater action by the state to take immediate measures and avoid bankruptcies in the hotel sector. Special care, they said, must be given to the small and medium-sized hotels that comprise the sector’s backbone.

Most attendants voiced concern that the fragmented legal framework governing tourism hampers the industry, especially compared with rivals, such as Spain.

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