A public consultation was held 15-28 January on a draft tourism bill drawn up by the Greek Tourism Ministry that contains draft regulations 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 draft bill is entitled “Restructuring the Greek National Tourism Organization, reducing administrative burdens, simplifying procedures to support tourism business and other provisions.”
Greek tourism professionals took part in the consultation process and submitted a series of comments on the proposed regulations for Greek tourism.
SETE: “Significant improvements are required”
The Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE) commented that the draft tourism bill “was moving in the right direction,” but required significant improvements. It should be noted that SETE’s comments include those of various tourism associations and professionals.
SETE agreed and dubbed “necessary” the article that indicates the “restructure” of the GNTO. The GNTO’s restructure would include the transfer of its responsibilities that involve the country’s general tourism policy to the Tourism Ministry.
“It would be useful to describe the mission and purpose of the GNTO so as to facilitate its effort in Greek tourism,” the association commented.
On the appointment of a tourism coordination committee, SETE found this a positive development as long as the committee in question would not be involved in matters that concern local authorities and other public bodies.
“Its role should be to support the country’s tourism policy on issues that involve other ministries,” the association said.
The association also said it was against the creation of “condo hotels” in Greece – an “outdated model that is in decline internationally” – since their establishment could lead to the significant degradation of Greece’s offered quality services.
On the article of the draft law that refers to the “duties of the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels,” SETE appeared not in favor of the chamber accepting members of other tourism related organizations and businesses.
According to SETE, if the chamber were to enrol other enterprises besides hotels, the nature of the chamber would completely change and the role of trade industry bodies would be “distorted.”
The association highlighted that members of the hotel chamber should only be hotels, unless it was to transform into a “Tourism Chamber.”
To read SETE’s comments on the draft tourism bill (in Greek), press here.
Hellenic Chamber of Hotels says “No” to tourist villas
The comments on the draft law for tourism submitted by the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels, included references to articles on the establishment of tourist villas and tourist accommodation complexes (holiday homes) and the the special tourism investment service.
In regards to the establishment of tourist villas (detached houses, 100 square meters minimum) to be leased up to three months per year, the hotel chamber made it clear that it was completely against such a development.
“Allowing owners of homes over 100 square meters to convert them into accommodation units without specifications but by simply filing a tenancy agreement with the tax office… will lead to the full downgrading of the country’s smaller hotel units,” the chamber commented.
The chamber added that the establishment of tourist villas would create unfair competition in the Greek hotel industry, mainly for small and medium sized businesses that are the backbone of Greek tourism.
Similar comments were made in regards to the establishment of tourist accommodation complexes as the chamber expressed concern that the restrictions in the draft law appeared flexible and their development would be at the expense of “classic hotels” and the country’s tourism resources.
On the special tourism investment service (“fast track service” for hotel investments of over 300 beds), the hotel chamber said the service should be accessible to all hotel accommodation investments, regardless of the number of beds, so as to crackdown on bureaucracy.
In addition, the chamber said it was not in favor of accommodation units of less than 10 rooms on islands with a population of up to 3,100 residents, to be certified as “2-key category” units as they lacked the relevant specifications.