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Environmental Groups Slam New Greek Tourism Bill

environmentalTwelve environmental organizations criticized the Greek Tourism Ministry and said it was “destroying nature” throughout Greece with the new bill for Greek tourism that was recently tabled in Parliament.

In a press release, the environmental organizations of Arcturos, Archelon, Mediterranean SOS network, the Hellenic Ornithological Society, the Hellenic Society for the Protection of the Environment and Cultural Heritage, the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature, the Society for the Protection of Prespa , Callisto,  Medasset, MOm, Greenpeace and WWF Hellas said the bill “opens the way for mass constructions under the excuse of tourism development.

“The tourism ministry is reproducing the failed example of other countries, which was the main reason for their economic and environmental disaster,” the organizations said.

According to the environmental organizations, certain provisions of the new bill would lead to irreversible consequences not only for the environment but also for the economy and society.

The organizations underlined that, among other things, the new bill:

  • promotes mass constructions in sensitive areas such as islets, mountainous areas, protected areas and archaeological sites
  • allows interventions to sites located within Natura and archaeological sites
  • contains provisions that limit State revenue such as the reduced fee for construction near the seashore.

They added that the bill promotes the construction of jointly owned hotel properties (mixed use resorts, condo hotels, residence hotels), which is an outdated model with known consequences.

“Thanks to the country’s unique comparative advantages, tourism should be one of the key drivers of growth. But as quality tourism and not a type of real estate activity,” the organizations concluded.

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