The government announced the elimination of cabotage for yachts
Minister of Tourism, Olga Kefalogianni agitated the stagnated waters of Greek yachting, by announcing yesterday the elimination of cabotage, already in force for cruise ships. On one hand, this announcement means for companies managing Greek marinas that they can already start “counting” their future benefits, but on the other made professional vessel owners under Greek flag very worried about the future of this sector in Greece.
More specifically, at the press conference Ms Kefalogianni commented on maritime tourism, saying that in cooperation with other ministries, including the Ministry of Finance, a law draft is being prepared. It will regulate issues such as the elimination of cabotage, the support of Greek flag and the simplification of the provisions regarding private and professional vessels.
She also mentioned that there is also a close collaboration with the Ministry for Environment, Energy and Climate Change, in the framework of the Special Spatial Plan for tourism, aiming at the development and the facilitation of investments, regarding touristic moorings.
A fresh breath for marinas
“The announcement made by Minister Olga Kefalogianni was a breath of fresh air for Greek marinas. We are very positive about it and we support the full and unconditional elimination of cabotage–more specifically the extension of the law regarding cruises to cover recreational vessels under a third country flag as well” commented to “N” the president of the Greek Marina Union, Stavros Katsikadis.
While this year the reduction of docking at the marinas was over 25%, one of the benefits of the new law is that according to international yachting operators, vessels will come to Greece for permanent docking. It is noted that today yachts spend winter time at the Dalmatian coast or Turkey and visit Greek marinas in summertime for a brief period. According to the law in force today “during this visit, the vessels are not allowed to be rented for excursions to Greek ports, due to the limitations in force for vessels under a third country flag” pointed out Mr. Katsikadis.
According to the president of the Union for Greek Marinas “the benefits for Greek economy will be substantial. New jobs for Greek crew members will be created, competition will be enhanced and the sector of professional vessels will grow, while marinas will be working at their full capacity”.
Furthermore, the development of this sector will also raise the standards of services rendered to customers, who in this case are of high quality.
The green light has been given to six major tourism investments
A touristic product upgrade intervention programme, with a total value of 150 million euro, is taking place by the Ministry of Tourism, engaging in projects throughout Greece, while in the same time the «one stop» service for the tourism business licensing is starting.
In particular, the Minister of Tourism, Mrs. Olga Kefalogianni, announced yesterday, without further details, that the folders regarding six major hotel business investments in the region of Kea, Milos, Crete, Achaia, Ios and Viotia have already passed the first stage.
She also announced that, a proposal has been filed to the Ministry of Development, regarding the direct procurement of new state aid actions for the updating of small tourism businesses. The programme will assure that actions regarding small businesses will be completed by the end of the next tourist season.
The minister also spoke about her good cooperation with the rest of the Ministries, giving as an example the special land use context regarding tourism which, as she highlighted, was completed in cooperation with Y.P.E.K.A. (Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change).
GNTO (Greek National Tourism Organization)
GNTO can be an essential means for the promotion of the Greek touristic product and for this reason the Ministry directly proceeds with its restructuring. The Foreign offices are expected to play an important part, and as she implied, will be re-evaluated. She used Germany as an example, the first tourist market for Greece, which had four offices and is now left with only one. She pointed the necessity of the re-establishment of offices in Munich and Berlin.
The subject of establishment of a second office in the United States was issued by the Secretary General Mr. Nikos Karachalios. As he mentioned, there is an office in New York, which consist the 26% of the incoming, from the United States, tourism. He also highlighted that Los Angeles, which holds the similar percentage, does not have a GNTO office.
Finally, the Minister did not forget to mention the part that the Greek Consulates, all over the world can undertake and especially in areas where GNTO does not have an office. She spoke about a kind of «touristic attaché» to the embassies, a programme that exists on paper from 2003, but has not been applied until today.
Alongside, the Minister also wanted to give a message to all the tourism involved agencies. «Tourism owes to become an issue for everyone, for the whole dynamic tourism society» she mentioned and added: «This means that all of us have something to contribute to this national issue. We should not wait only from the state and the government to act. Not only to request, but to also offer to this joint effort.»
The Minister of Tourism, Mrs. Olga Kefalogianni, is in favor of V.T.A. decrease, not only on dining, but on the whole tourism package. As a reply to a question set to her yesterday, she replied that when the V.A.T. increase took place, she was against it, because it would decrease the competiveness of the Greek tourism.
To everything regarding the present situation, as she had also stated in one of her interviews to «Naftemporiki», the Minister highlighted that «it is one of our priorities, when the circumstances allow it, to decrease first of all V.A.T on dining and also on the whole tourism package».
(source – Naftemporiki)