ECONOMY

Incentives for hoteliers

Tourism Development Deputy Minister Anastassios Liaskos yesterday announced investment incentives in tourism, relieving the country’s hoteliers of considerable red tape. The measures, announced to hotel union representatives in Thessaloniki, include a legal clause exempting hotels built after 1990 from submitting environmental effects studies. The same will apply to 50-bed units within town zoning areas. A simple study will be required for hotels both within town and outside it with 100-bed capacity. Furthermore, the ministry is preparing a regulation about the use designation of hotels in the countryside that remain shut or whose operation is not deemed viable. Hotel units will also be able to expand if built on plots of land of 1 hectare or over, while today the threshold is 2 hectares. Hotel representatives told the event that the tragic situation of the domestic hotel industry in the last four years calls for even greater action by the state to take immediate measures and avoid bankruptcies in the hotel sector. Special care, he said, must be given to the small and medium-sized hotels that comprise the sector’s backbone. Most attendants voiced concern that the fragmented legal framework governing tourism hampers the industry, especially compared with rivals, such as Spain.