Tapping into the vast wealth of natural thermal springs and making destinations, sites and enterprises accessible are among the main points of a new bill tabled in parliament on Tuesday by the Greek tourism ministry.
The proposed legislation lays out the terms and conditions for the utilization of the country’s natural springs and spas through the creation of Thermal Springs of Greece SA, which will be responsible for drawing up a strategy that will designate, utilize and manage the country’s thermal springs.
The tourism ministry aims to incorporate spa tourism into a wider wellness tourism product and attract new visitors while ensuring they are in line with sustainable development standards.
Under the bill, the ministry is aiming to achieve a holistic approach to sustainable tourism development through public-private partnerships and synergies with local and regional authorities.
Some of the key areas of focus include making tourist destinations, sites and enterprises accessible to the disabled and granting relevant certification in this direction.
Additionally, according to the new legislation, the ministry is planning to grant certification to visitable breweries, olive mills, and cheese factories, as well as to pet-friendly operations (hotels and enterprises).
The draft also foresees fines of up to 2,000 euros (for repeat offenders) to unlicensed individuals offering tour guide services and advertising these services online, via social media, or printed material.
The act also sets out in detail the responsibilities of the Special Service for the Promotion and Licensing of Tourism Investments.
Lastly, the projected law expands the scope of operation of the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) including promotional and marketing actions as well as allowing it among others to rent or offer with or without exchange spaces for the promotion of Greek tourism.