The plan, announced recently by the ministries of Tourism and Environment, introduces changes to the way tourism infrastructure is currently planned in Greece and aims to promote incentives for the creation of high category accommodation and for the upgrade of existing hotels of four and five stars.
It also intends to limit the widespread building of tourism facilities in areas outside city plans and strengthen destinations that are less developed for tourism use but have significant potential to host special forms of tourism.
According to Greek Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni, the country’s new Special Zoning Plan for Tourism is a central pillar of the ministry’s tourism strategy as it will assist to the creation of more special forms of tourism and boost opportunities for growth across the country.
The new Special Zoning Plan for Tourism includes alterations that involve:
Building coefficients (built square meters, proportion of plot coverage by the building, height etc.) – the building coefficients are now determined according to the size of the plot in question and not in accordance to the destination itself. For a plot of 300 to 2,000 stremma, the building coefficient is set at 0.05, for a plot of 2,000-4,000 stremma it is set to 0.03, while for larger plots the building coefficient is limited to 0.01.
Islands/islets – The category of “developed islands and islands under development” now include Alonissos, Kythnos, Amorgos, Astypalea, Ios, Kea, Milos, Samothrace, Tinos and Folegandros. This category only permits the creation of new units of four and five stars and tourism complexes.
Already included in this category are the islands of Aegina, Andros, Antiparos, Zakynthos, Thassos, Thira, Ithaca, Ikaria, Kalymnos, Karpathos, Kasos, Corfu, Cephalonia, Kythira, Kos, Leros, Lefkada, Lesvos, Limnos, Mykonos, Naxos, Paros, Patmos, Poros, Rhodes, Samos, Serifos, Sifnos, Skiathos, Skopelos, Skyros, Spetses, Symi, Syros, Hydra and Chios.
Tourism investments on uninhabited islands and islets that cover an area of 300 stremma are forbidden.
Cruise – Regarding the cruise sector, the new Special Zoning Plan for Tourism sees for the creation of ports of call at the following destinations: Athens, Thessaloniki, Katakolon, Rhodes, Volos, Kavala, Kos, Patmos, Pylos, Mykonos, Santorini, Kalamata, Corfu and Crete.
In the case of Attica, the plan provides for the possibility of creating additional cruise infrastructure in Piraeus, the Faliro Bay area and Lavrion.
Diving tourism and underwater museums – Diving parks will be developed in areas that have the necessary resources, such as underwater geological formations and are rich in fish fauna.
Ski and Golf – The new zoning plan aims to improve accessibility to Greece’s ski resorts. Hotels with golf courses can now be sited in urban areas and/or major tourism destinations such as Athens, Thessaloniki, Volos, Ioannina, Crete, Corfu, Rhodes, Kos and Zakynthos, and the regional sections of Ilia, Messinia, Halkidiki, Achaia, Argolis, Lefkada, Kefalonia and Aetoloakarnania.
Areas of the Natura 2000 network – Constructions near protected areas of the Natura 2000 network must proceed in accordance to relevant provisions of special presidential decrees and ministerial orders for environmental protection. Building coefficients in protected areas can not exceed 0.05.
Agritourism/Wine Tourism – The new zoning plan strengthens the special forms of tourism of “agritourism” and “wine tourism.”
Greece’s new Special Zoning Plan for Tourism was published 13 December 2013 in the Official Gazette of the Hellenic Republic and can be read here (in Greek).