The new tourism bill is said to adjust chronic issues that have been holding tourism development behind, restructure tourism services and reorganize the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO).
According to Greek Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni, the new tourism bill will form “a new model of tourism development to upgrade the quality of Greece’s current tourism product.”
More specifically, the new bill removes the special tourism investment service (“fast track service” established for the faster licensing procedure of tourism investments) from the GNTO’s responsibility and assigns it to the Tourism Ministry.
The bill also opens the way for the placement of tourism attachés in Greek embassies in countries that lack GNTO offices and establishes a General Commercial Registry Service within the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels.
A tourism coordination committee will also be appointed and consist of a chairman (Tourism Minister) and members (secretary generals of the tourism ministry and other ministries related to tourism issues).
A crisis management committee on a regional level will also be established. The committee will run under a Greek regional vice governor and with the involvement of mayors and representatives of tourism associations.
The new bill also upgrades the procedures for licensing marinas and for the operation of ski centers.
In regards to hotels, among other things, the new tourism bill:
- allows a tourist accommodation complex to incorporate infrastructure for specialized forms of tourism (such as spa-thermalism and wellness centers, diving tourism facilities, etc.)
- allows timeshare leasing (a timeshare offers vacationers the opportunity to purchase time at fully furnished accommodations)
- allows existing 4- and 5-star hotels to be converted into tourist accommodation complexes
- introduces the “products” of jointly owned hotel properties (mixed use resorts, condo hotels, residence hotels), which can operate on a 10-year lease
- introduces “youth hostels” as a new type of hotel accommodation (converted from old and outdated hotel units).