Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis presented on Monday an omnibus bill aimed at streamlining actions for the improved promotion and utilization of Greek tourism attractions, including the world-famous Shipwreck Beach on the island of Zakynthos.
The draft legislation foresees the establishment of the Organization for the Utilization of Thermal Resources and the Zakynthos Shipwreck Management and Operation Agency, which will both work to promote and protect the tourist attractions, as well as attract investments for their further expansion.
More specifically, the Organization for the Utilization of Thermal Resources will work to further develop Greece’s vast wealth of thermal springs and create wellness tourism products. The body will focus on sustainable tourism development as well as attracting investor interest. According to the Greek tourism ministry, travel for health reasons is among the fastest growing forms of tourism.
According to the ministry, the wellness tourism segment is expect to grow at an annual rate of 7.5 percent in the 2017-2022 period; spa tourism by 6.4 percent and thermal springs by 6.5 percent. Meanwhile, the global wellness market is valued at 4.2 trillion dollars.
Theoharis underlined the importance of a national strategy for the utilization of thermal springs and other natural resources in order for Greece to claim a fair share of this market.
The Zakynthos Shipwreck Management and Operation Agency will focus actions on protecting one of Greece’s most popular beaches and sites, ranked among the “World’s Top 50 Beaches”, the Navagio on the Ionian island of Zakynthos.
Also known as Shipwreck Beach, the site is the second most visited and recognizable tourist destination in Greece, attracting over 1 million visitors annually.
According to the tourism ministry, the agency will focus on addressing issues of safety as well as of conflict of interest among local stakeholders and authorities which have hampered all forms of intervention leaving the site “not sufficiently exploited”.
Last year, Zakynthos authorities, including the island’s Holy Metropolis which has jurisdiction over Navagio Beach, said they had submitted to the tourism ministry and relevant forestry department, a plan for the overhaul of the area in the aftermath of a landslide incident.