Tourism enterprises in Greece seeking to expand or diversify and investors with innovative project plans will be able to tap into a wide range of financial support tools foreseen in the new development law which was passed in parliament recently.
The legislation includes many “firsts” such as funding for upgrades of non-central tourist facilities provided they convert to at least 3-star status; support for the first time in eight years to large enterprises in the South Aegean Region wishing to modernize and / or expand their facilities; and a 10 percent increase in aid to businesses in the South and North Aegean, Crete, Peloponnese and Western Macedonia.
The “Development Law: Greece – Powerful Growth” foresees aid in the form of tax breaks, subsidies, leasing subsidies, job creation subsidies, and business risk financing for startups in the following tourism areas:
– creation or expansion of hotels (at least 4-star)
– modernization of central or non-tourist facilities as long as they upgrade to 3-star category
– upgrade or creation of camping and glamping facilities, condo hotels, youth hostels
– alternative forms of tourism including diving, conference and events centers, golf courses, ports and marinas, ski resorts, theme parks, spa treatment and thermal spring tourism centers, thalassotherapy and wellness centers, mountain shelters and motorways
– sports tourism and training areas, including sports courts, pools, recreational areas
– port and marina services facilities, operational services for waterways, logistics and supply areas, parking spaces
– museums and libraries.
Commenting on the law, Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias referred to the special emphasis that has been given to the support of specific tourism investments that concern alternative forms of tourism focusing on the utilization and promotion of special local or regional characteristics (geographical, social, cultural, religious).
He went on to refer to funding given to the creation, expansion or modernization of hotel units in designated historical or preserved buildings or settlements, in remote mountain regions, on the borders, and on remote small islands.
“The development law is a strategic tool for investments in Greece,” he said, adding that in collaboration with the development ministry 3-star hotels, which account for 23 percent of the total, have been included in the law.
The law also provides coverage for a number of qualifying costs, including:
-consulting services to SMEs
-energy efficiency measures
-high efficiency cogeneration of energy from RES
-energy production from renewable sources
-installation of efficient heating and cooling systems
-restoration of contaminated areas
-recycling and reuse of waste
-SME participation in trade fairs
-employment of disadvantaged employees and of staff with disabilities.
Last year, Greek lawmakers approved a tourism bill, which among others, introduces tools that will enable public-private partnerships and sets out the terms of operation for destination management and promotion organizations (DMOs).