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Greece Tables Draft Law Encouraging Alternative Tourism Ventures

Investments in the modernization or development of ports, ski centers, theme parks, and other special interest tourism facilities aimed at creating added value are among business activities backed by a new bill tabled by the Greek development and investments ministry last week.

The proposed legislation focuses on supporting investments in alternative forms of tourism that will tap into the unique characteristics of each region and showcase cultural, social, religious and geographical features.

The bill includes reforms facilitating fast-track investments and identifies key areas with significant potential, including the upgrade and creation of new hotel units and spa facilities, enhancing the tourist product to meet the needs of high-end travelers, and modernizing  ports and marinas, theme parks, sports facilities and conference centers.

The draft legislation, dubbed “Development Law: Greece – Powerful Growth”, covers comprehensive investment plans for integrated infrastructure that concern:

-special interest infrastructure, such as conference centers, golf courses, ports, ski resorts, theme parks, spa treatment and thermal spring tourism centers, thalassotherapy centers, motorways, mountain shelters, and sports training areas

– agritourism, wine tourism, geotourism or multifunctional farm operations

– outdoor accommodation such as glamping facilities.

Photo source: Visit Greece

The draft law also foresees support for a number of eligible costs including:

-consulting services to SMEs 

-energy efficiency measures 

-high efficiency cogeneration of energy from RES

-energy production from renewable sources 

-installation of efficient heating and cooling systems

-restoration of contaminated areas 

-recycling and reuse of waste 

-vocational training

-SME participation in trade fairs 

-employment of disadvantaged employees and of staff with disabilities

Under the proposed “Development Law: Greece – Powerful Growth”, very small, small and medium-sized enterprises that invest in border, remote small island and mountain destinations or in historical or preserved buildings or settlements will be able to enter fast-track procedures and be eligible for incentives, including tax breaks, subsidies for leasing, rentals, and jobs created, and up to 100 percent coverage of qualifying expenses.

Late last year, Greek lawmakers approved a tourism bill, which among others, introduces tools that will enable public-private partnerships and sets out the terms of operation for destination management and promotion organizations (DMOs).

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About the Author
Chicago-born and raised, Maria Paravantes has over two decades of journalistic experience covering tourism and travel, gastronomy, arts, music and culture, economy and finance, politics, health and social issues for international press and media. She has worked for Reuters, The Telegraph, Huffington Post, Billboard Magazine, Time Out Athens, the Athens News, Odyssey Magazine and, among others. She has also served as Special Advisor to Greece’s minister of Foreign Affairs, and to the mayor of Athens on international press and media issues. Maria is currently a reporter, content and features writer for GTP Headlines.

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