The bill put forward by the Ministry of Tourism on “Thematic Tourism – Specialized tourism – configurations for the modernization of the institutional framework in the area of tourism and education thereof and the support of the tourism industry” – was voted for at the Houses of Parliament.
This is the first complete bill, put forward by the Minister of Tourism – Ms. Elena Kountoura, which has been voted for and has to do with the organization, regulation, and institutional framework for the development of the industry as regards to thematic tourism.
The new innovative framework for thematic tourism is the result of intense consultation of the Ministry with all sectors of Greek tourism. This new legislation covers all the needs of the tourist industry so as to strengthen the country’s place in the global tourism market.
Moreover, it opens new horizons within the development of tourism and contributes to the strategic goal of the national tourism policy for the tourism season to last 365 days a year, featuring authentic travel experiences which Greece has to offer – experiences which stand out in global tourism.
Some of the provisions it succeeds in achieving are:
- Upgrading the tourist product and enhancing business activity.
- Linking tourism to the primary sector, agri-food and processing, encouraging synergies between different sectors of the economy and dynamically integrating local products into the wider tourism chain.
- Boosting employment through the creation of new jobs – new occupational activities and widening the scope of all thematic tourism products.
- Attracting new investments and financing from national and European funds and co-financed programs (ESPA, Development Law), codifying and simplifying dysfunctional and bureaucratic licensing procedures.
- The even more dynamic promotion of new Greek destinations in order to achieve a more balanced distribution of tourists throughout the country and throughout the year.
In the initial stage of thematic tourism:
- All special forms of tourism are defined.
- New fields are created for the development of entrepreneurship in thematic tourism products.
- Certification specifications and safety rules are established.
- Important arrangements are introduced for all businesses operating in thematic tourism.
At the same time, configurations were introduced for the modernization of the existing institutional framework in the field of tourism, aiming at the optimal functioning of the domestic tourism market, in which:
- Procedures by which the industry operates and develops in the domestic business and investment environment are simplified.
- Outdated arrangements are eliminated in the general terms and conditions for the licensing of hotels, tour operators and, more broadly, activities governed by the tourism legislation.
- Prepaid package travel -arranged by travel agencies.
- Legislative and administrative gaps, as well as operational problems related to specific tourist infrastructures, are addressed.
- The effectiveness of the tourism administrative services responsible for the licensing, supervision and control of tourism enterprises is enhanced.