Tourism investors team up

The complexity of Greek legislation is keeping about 3.5 billion euros of foreign funds from being invested in tourism projects, members of the newly founded Association of Foreign Investors for the Tourism Sector in Greece (AFIT) told a press briefing yesterday. AFIT is comprised of 11 members, now in the launching stage of large investment schemes in Greece. Two of them are at an advanced stage of implementation, having obtained licenses. The association’s representatives said recently introduced tax incentives mainly favor small or mid-sized projects, whereas the big schemes require different treatment. AFIT considers that top priority must be given to the definitive and final resolution of the country’s land zoning problem and a clear legislative framework which should tackle all related issues. It also wants legislation regarding summer holiday housing, for which there is strong demand from high-income foreign pensioners. AFIT, which is claimed to be the first association of its kind in the world, aims to promote Greece as an ideal place for foreign tourism investment and act as an official body liaising between its members and the Greek government. AFIT’s members include Australia’s Albatross Investment and Development, Britain’s Loyalward, South Africa’s Greek Lifestyle Investments and US-based Olympia Resorts. It is presided by Clemente Pinedo, of Spain’s Resde Development. Tourism Development Minister Fani Palli-Petralia said on Wednesday that the government is working to simplify licensing procedures for new investment, promoting public/private partnerships and preparing comprehensive zoning plans.