ECONOMY

Tourism zoning plan

Emerging tourism destinations such as the western Peloponnese, developed areas with infrastructures such as Crete, and touristic sites with easy road access will become strong centers of investment attraction, according to the special zoning plan for tourism. This plan, drafted by the Tourism Development Ministry in cooperation with the Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Ministry, is expected to give a major boost to the tourism sector. Foreign investors reportedly discussed the plan extensively and protested its delay, as it is estimated it can bring investments of up to 4 billion euros to Greece. The plan is not based on the country’s administrative structure, but on special characteristics of areas that can receive major investments and on existing infrastructures. Nevertheless, although the issues of tourism accommodation development and the construction have been heavily discussed, no definitive solution to realizing such investments in Greece will be given even when the zoning plan is complete. That’s because even though the intention or arrangement of an investment may be clear, town planning legislation problems will remain, as the law will have to be modernized to improve the investment climate and to realize large-scale business plans. The objective of the zoning plan is the highlighting of the comparative advantages of each region, through the development of special forms of tourism, including health and medical, sports, religious, gastronomic, conference-related, sea and mountaineering tourism One of the key issues of the plan on a national scale is seeking the ways and the terms of tying tourism development in main destinations to the development of their surrounding region. In this context the ministries are trying to establish relations between neighboring destinations that will complement each other, solve their common problems and serve their common needs in areas such as coastal shipping, energy, water and environmental protection. One of the most important conditions is the accessibility and support of destinations. The government expects that the completion of the zoning plan will help improve communication with countries who bring tourists to Greece as well as help improve infrastructure such as main roads, airports, ports and marinas.