According to data published recently, more than 40 percent of Greek hotels, an estimated 3,500 out of a total of 8,500, are more or less in violation of zoning regulations.
As the situation stands today, there aren’t many realistic solutions, say hoteliers.
The demolition of hotels that violate the zoning codes would obviously have a heavy impact on Greek tourism.
To confront the problem, the Panhellenic Hoteliers’ Association recently submitted a number of proposals that include:
• Legalization of low-grade transgressions of building specification limits and some cases of arbitrary changes in land-use designations.
• Hotels outside town zones should be allowed to increase their communal areas by up to 25 percent beyond the specifications laid by the Greek National Tourism Organization, without this counting toward their total space or built area. This should improve services without increasing capacity; car parks outside hotels entrances should be banned.
• Hotels operating for more than 25 years should be allowed to change their designated use. It is argued that this measure would help bring about a substantial renewal of hotel facilities in many areas and upgrade the quality of services.
• A relaxation of strict hygiene regulations regarding swimming pools, which are antiquated and impractical.
• The minimum height for hotels inside and outside town zones should be set at 11.5 meters, where there are no special grounds for protecting the cultural or architectural heritage of a place.