Bill gives incentives for more tourism investments

The development bill of investment incentives which the government unveiled yesterday contains a special chapter on tourism. The novel features introduced by the bill are a broadening of the type of tourism enterprises that can benefit from the provisions of the bill and increases in the investment subsidies granted to certain categories of such enterprises. The incentives concern: Construction or extension of hotels in the three-star category and above; modernization of at least two-star hotels, including those that have been shut for a maximum of five years; modernization of hotels of lower categories housed in buildings listed as preservable or traditional, if the modernization brings them up to two-star level, including those that have been shut for a maximum of five years; construction of additional facilities, such as pools and sports installations, in at least two-star hotels; conversion of preservable or traditional buildings into hotels; modernization of campsites of at least C category; and construction, extension and modernization of conference centers, ski centers, spas, marinas, golf courses, thalassotherapy centers, health spas, sports tourism and training centers, theme parks also offering comprehensive tourism services, and car racecourses. Winter tourism The Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) has set the development of alternative forms of tourism as a priority, the organization’s secretary-general, Haris Kokkosis, told a special event on winter tourism yesterday. Kokkosis stressed that winter/skiing tourism is a field with strong growth prospects and the aim is not to turn Greece into Switzerland or Austria, as the existing infrastructure does not allow for that, but to enrich the Greek tourism product and highlight Greece as a winter destination as well. Nikos Haritakis, CEO of the public Tourism Development Company (ETA), said the company is planning an upgrade of the skiing center of Mount Parnassos, while the local mayors where the ski centers of Kalavryta, in the Peloponnese, and Falakro, in Macedonia, are located, spoke of the potential of these two resorts. Falakro, built with national and EU funding and operated by the Nevrokopi municipality in Drama, is Greece’s newest skiing center and has some of the country’s most advanced facilities.