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Greece Announces New Framework to Regulate Agrotourism Businesses

Photo source: Hellenic Agritourism Federation

Photo source: Hellenic Agritourism Federation

The terms and conditions for the regulated operation of agrotourism (or agritourism) enterprises in Greece have been laid out in a special framework published recently in the Government Gazette and based on a joint decision by the Tourism Ministry and the Rural Development and Food Ministry. 

The decision also introduces the requirements for the Special Agrotourism Seal (ESA in Greek) which is mandatory. Agrotourism enterprises across the country will also obtain their own business activity code as demanded by professionals in the sector in order to ensure regulated business activity.

The joint decision by the tourism and agricultural development ministries comes after deliberations with the country’s agrotourism sector professionals.

Greek Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura and Secretary General for Tourism Policy and Development George Tziallas (second from left) with representatives of the Hellenic Agrotourism Federation. Photo source: Tourism Ministry

Greek Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura and Secretary General for Tourism Policy and Development George Tziallas (second from left) with representatives of the Hellenic Agrotourism Federation. Photo source: Tourism Ministry

As underlined in the tourism ministry’s announcement, agrotourism businesses in Greece belong to a sub-category of tourist enterprises and operate with a ministry-approved special seal. All agrotourism-oriented facilities, including farms, ranches or other agricultural settings offering such services are required, according to the decision, to proceed with the necessary actions in order to obtain the seal by December 31, 2019.

It should be noted that businesses operating and advertised as agrotourism entities without the Special Agrotourism Seal may face fines of up to 5,000 euros.

In order to set up an agrotourism enterprise, interested parties must be signed up in the Greek farmers’ registry and be able to offer accommodation of up to 40 beds on or off farm or agricultural locations.

According to the announcement, the special framework for the operation of agrotourism enterprises and the establishment of the special seal, are part of the ministry’s tourism policy that aims to develop thematic tourism forms – in this context, develop rural tourism, highlight authentic experiences that enrich the Greek tourist product, link tourism to primary production, support local producers and economies and promote local products.

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