The recently discussed final draft of the new Special Spatial Framework for Tourism (SSF Tourism) is set to cause a significant shift in subsidies for tourism investments.

Deliberated in a closed meeting session at the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change (YPEKA) last Thursday, the framework includes a regulation that integrates the spatial planning of private tourist investments into the existing criteria and grading of incentives (via NSRF, Recovery Fund, etc.), particularly about their qualitative classification (star ratings).

Key Highlights of the New Spatial Framework for Tourism Investments:

1. Saturated Areas (Control Zones):
Investments involving the construction of new units or the expansion of existing ones will not be subsidized if located within saturated areas (“control zones”). Correspondingly, investments in developed areas will only be supported if they concern accommodations with a rating of 4 stars or higher, while in all other regions, subsidies will apply to tourism investments with a rating of 3 stars or higher.

2. Hotels and Traditional Buildings:
For the establishment and modernization of integrated hotel units that involve traditional or listed (historical or cultural) buildings/sites, the proposal suggests support for projects classified as 3 stars or higher in saturated or developed regions and at least 2 stars in other areas.

3. Innovative Investments:
The new SSF Tourism encourages innovative investments outlined in “Networks and Clusters of Tourist Destinations” in developed and developing regions. The specifications for these investments will be determined later through amendments to tourism legislation. The framework also proposes provisions for funding opportunities (eligibility) in the NSRF 2021-2027 for Tourism Destination Management Plans, Active Intervention and Regeneration Area Plans, as well as Branding and Place Marketing Plans.

The plan encompasses a comprehensive spatial organization of tourist accommodations across different regions, aiming to streamline and enhance the tourism landscape in Greece.

It’s noteworthy that the proposed Special Spatial Framework for Tourism is poised to bring about substantial changes, and its impact on the tourism sector will be closely monitored as it progresses through public consultation and potential implementation, while it is set to introduce a proposal for the imposition of a tax in support of the Green Fund. This tax is aimed at funding renovations and infrastructural developments that bolster the tourism sector.