New measures to support Greece’s tourism industry from the impact of the coronavirus (Covid-19) were recently approved by parliament, the Tourism Ministry announced on Tuesday.
One of the new measures aims to support land transport and will provide relief for tourism businesses that own and run tour buses.
Τhe Covid-19 health protocol for tour buses in Greece placed a limit on the maximum number of passengers permitted onboard (only 65 percent of its maximum passenger capacity), a rule which has affected the revenue of businesses.
“We are supporting tour buses, since we ruled out the possibility of them filling all of their seats due to the pandemic,” Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis said in parliament.
Trains carrying out tourist routes will also receive support as a limit also exists to how many passengers they can carry.
With winter destinations unable to attract travelers due to the pandemic, parliament also approved the extension of the “Tourism for All” social tourism program, which offers subsidized vacations to Greek beneficiaries.
Also, the domestic tourism support scheme that provides corporate holiday travel vouchers for private sector employees will also be extended.
Moreover, another measure sees the ministry giving businesses a one-year extension to the deadline for the issuance of operating licenses for tourist ports.
“There are a number of tourist ports or shelters, for which the procedures for environmental studies are pending. We are giving a one-year extension so they can be completed. Within the next year, a new, essential framework for the country’s marinas will come that will include quicker procedures so that such extensions will not be needed,” the minister said.
In addition, parliament passed an amendment which makes the amount of compensation given to hotels that remained open during the first Covid-19 lockdown period (April-May) not subject to seizure or allowed to be set off with debts towards the state.