An updated legal framework to regulate the development of spa tourism in Greece, and facilitate related business ventures is set to be tabled by Greek Tourism Minister Thanasis Theocharopoulos in the coming period.
Speaking to public broadcaster ERT television, Theocharopoulos said the new legislation will allow current operators of spa and hot spring facilities to re-apply for licensing.
The minister said he was currently looking into ways to tap into EU funds in order to move ahead swiftly with the exploitation of the country’s recognized natural springs units which are under local government jurisdiction.
In this direction he said the ministry would be announcing the launch of 25 million euros worth of co-funded programs aimed at municipalities which will have the chance to tap into the funds to upgrade their spa facilities.
The minister went on to underline the importance of tourism as a driver of the Greek economy and a job creator, adding that the goal this year, despite the increased competitiveness, is to boost revenues and further improve quality.
At the same time, he said, the government was responding to the challenges and demands of the sector by reducing VAT on F&B from 24 percent to 13 percent, on energy from 13 percent to 6 percent, and on accommodation (as of 2020) from 13 percent to 11 percent. Measures which, he said, will also enhance consumer buying power.
The country’s tourism industry accounts for 20 percent of Greece’s GDP, up by 37.5 billion euros, with net revenues from tourism amounting to 18.5 billion euros growing at a rate of 7 percent compared to the economy’s growth rate of 2-2.5 percent.