The draft tourism bill will be up for public consultation until 28 January 2013.
A draft tourism bill was published for comment yesterday, 15 January, by the Tourism Ministry with a view to strengthen investments and entrepreneurship in tourism, restructure tourism services and establish the necessary provisions for the reorganization of the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO).
“The bill will adjust chronic issues to remove inflexibilities imposed by anachronistic laws that until now prevented the tourism economy to adjust in accordance to the global tourism market’s current standards,” an announcement by the tourism ministry said.
Amongst other things, the draft bill seeks to remove the special tourism investment service (“fast track service” established for the faster licensing procedure of tourism investments) from the responsibility of the GNTO and assign it to the Tourism Ministry.
It also seeks to set up a Tourism Observatory to utilize the data and findings of the Tourism Satellite Account, study the Greek tourism market and target measures for the development of the tourism sector.
The bill also provides for the appointment of a tourism coordination committee that would consist of a chairman (Tourism Minister) and an unannounced number of members (secretary generals of the tourism ministry and other ministries related to tourism issues).
The draft bill also sees the placement of tourism attachés in Greek embassies in countries that lack GNTO offices.
Included in the proposed new legislation are provisions to boost tourism entrepreneurship and investments. Specifically, the draft tourism bill:
- allows hotels to incorporate infrastructure for specialized forms of tourism (such as spa-thermalism and wellness centers, diving tourism facilities, etc.) under certain conditions.
- provides the possibility for timeshare leasing (a timeshare offers vacationers the opportunity to purchase time at fully furnished accommodations).
introduces “condo hotels” that can operate with long-term leases. Condo hotels are four or ﬁve stars hotel lodgings, featuring independent apartments or ﬂats, which can be considered as independent properties and can be leased or rented to a third party.
- allows for tourist villas (detached houses, 100 square meters minimum) to be leased up to three months per year.
- sets the necessary documents for the licensing of tourist accommodation complexes (holiday homes).
- establishes the redevelopment zones, general terms and building restrictions for the refurbishment of the Faliro bay (Ormos Falirou) in Attica with the creation of a conference center of international status.
- resolves delimitation issues of the country’s ski centers and gives a two-year deadline for their legal authorization.
- gives the green light for the operation of stores for tourism purposes in tourist ports on Sundays and holidays.
A complete copy of the draft tourism bill entitled “Restructuring the Greek National Tourism Organization, reducing administrative burdens, simplifying procedures to support tourism business and other provisions,” can be found here (in Greek).
The public consultation of the draft tourism bill will end Monday, 28 January 2013 at 3pm.
The ministry, taking into consideration the results of the public consultation, will submit the bill to a Parliament vote.