A draft bill that simplifies the procedures for the operation of tourism businesses, among other things, was passed in principle and by article by a special parliamentary committee on 2 July.
The draft bill refers to important reforms expected to strengthen tourism entrepreneurship and resolve various issues in the sector.
According to reports, the draft bill passed on votes by ruling New Democracy and PASOK MPs. Main opposition SYRIZA, Independent Greeks and the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) voted against the bill and Democratic Left (DIMAR) withheld judgment. Golden Dawn did not attend the committee meetings.
The president of the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE), Andreas Andreadis, also attended the committee debate.
In her speech, Greek Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni said the new bill tackles obstacles that have stood in the way of Greece’s tourism development and facilitates private initiative.
Among other provisions, the draft bill speeds up the process for tourism accommodation units to obtain a license (special operational seal) in no more than 50 days from the day the application is submitted.
“We believe that the draft bill is first and foremost of a development nature. It creates a clear and simple framework for tourism business activities and the licensing process,” she said. Nevertheless, she said the Greek Tourism Ministry has a very strict framework in regards to carrying out checks and imposing fines on tourism businesses.
The draft bill also defines the operational rules for the operation of hotel complexes and sets the standards for special forms of tourism (wine tourism and medical/health tourism).
During the debate, the Independent Greeks party said the bill allows hotel giants to “act out of control” at the expense of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and also disagreed with the operational rules for hotel complexes. KKE expressed concern over labor issues. Objections were also voiced in regards to the simplified licensing process for tourism accommodation units.