Greece is an ideal tourist destination. It is a country with unique and diverse landscape, ancient history and heritage. Tourism has always been considered as the main pillar of the Greek economy. The economic crisis in Greece unveiled that in fact, tourism was not considered to be part of a serious national strategy. The present economic situation makes clear that tourism – must be used as a vehicle for the re-ignition of the Greek economy as long as several structural reforms are achieved and appropriate legal framework is implemented.
The European Union thinks of tourism as a sector of special interest because of the fact that tourism contributes for 10% of the EU GDP and employs 20 million people. According to World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), during the year 2013 1,08 billion of citizens have travelled around the world, half of ten have visited Europe. Therefore, it is obvious that tourism can play an even greater role in the years ahead, towards the economic growth of the EU. This truth is also valid in Greece, where the tourism sector contributes 16,4% to the national GDP. On these grounds, the Greek EU Presidency promotes all the policies decided by member-states, so that Europe remains the top destination on the tourism map.
Furthermore, taking into consideration that among the European countries, Greece has the second place with 16.500 km of coastlines (first being Norway), it is not a surprise that the Greek government aims to enhance its Coastal and Maritime Tourism. It will be one of the major fields of Action of the Greek Presidency.
The Greek Minister of Shipping, Maritime Affairs and the Aegean has issued a law bill regarding the pleasure boats (or recreation ships, as also known) sector. It is the first time that a Greek government is making an attempt to apply a consistent legal framework upon the activities of the pleasure boats area. The government aims that this law will appeal more tourists from abroad who travel by pleasure boats. The existing vague situation of the yachting sector was for long prohibitive for tourists, as they preferred other neighboring countries to moor their boats, but not anymore.
This law bill provides the definitions of all types of pleasure boats:
The Greek Ministry of Tourism has developed a law bill whose aim is to promote different aspects of this important economic sector.
This law bill provides definitions of complex tourist infrastructures such as marinas, ski centers, and accommodation. The law bill introduces some reforms that will make the operation processes of all the above facilities more flexible and efficient.
Furthermore, the law bill explains the meaning of the term “agro-tourism” and again it provides the framework under which all the businesses providing agro-tourism facilities will operate.
If Greece wants to ensure sustainability of its tourist product, it is crucial to invest on the “human capital” – the people who be employed with tourist relevant jobs. Therefore, it is important to provide such an educational structure which meets the modern needs of tourist global environment. The law bill introduces changes that will affect the operating methods of tourist schools.
Finally, the bill regulates matters that concern the efficient use of land available for tourist development.
Greek authorities realize that only rational reforms on tourism sector can bring the economic growth to the country. At the same, the EU takes tourism under great consideration, therefore serious coordinated actions on national and EU level must be taken, for tourism to be the tool for development.