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Maritime tourism is a source of disagreement

11 January 2014 / 17:01:14  GRReporter
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The vote of the "Tourist vessels and other provisions" bill of the Ministry of Merchant Marine regarding tourist vessels has been delayed for several days because of consultations between co-responsible ministries. Seafaring trade unions have reacted against the bill.

The bill has been revised many times. Furthermore, something happens every time it should be voted in parliament and it is sent back into the drawers of ministerial offices.

"Frozen" in Athens

According to the information, the procedure of gathering signatures from co-responsible ministers has been frozen at this stage in the office of Minister of Tourism Olga Kefalogianni, who has expressed her disagreement on certain topics.

Sources from the Ministry of Merchant Marine noted that Minister of Merchant Marine Miltiadis Varvitsiotis insisted that a comprehensive dialogue with various sectors and officials, as well as competent ministers should be held before the submission of the bill to parliament. Varvitsiotis believes that the bill will be of benefit for the country, since it will attract funds and create jobs during a hard time.

At the presentation of priorities within the Greek EU Presidency, the Minister of Tourism spoke mainly about sea tourism. However, this sector is managed in co-operation with the Ministry of Merchant Marine and Aegean.

According to the introduction of the statement of the Ministry of Tourism, "The Greek Presidency will deal with the integrated management of marine and coastal tourism in terms of the tourist sector. This category has a significant impact on the national economies of many Member States... The contribution of the marine tourism industry to the economic growth and the real economy of the EU is extremely important – it generates 38 billion euro annually and creates 327,000 direct and indirect jobs."

The same statement notes that "Traditionally, Greece, which has the second longest coastline in the EU, considers maritime and coastal tourism particularly important. The integrated maritime policy of the EU is a key horizontal policy for the Greek presidency."

Last year’s torpedoes

This is not the first time that a similar problem has occurred. It is noted that the predecessor of the Minister of Merchant Marine, Kostis Mousouroulis, has also been criticized because of the same bill’s provisions in May last year, again by the Ministry of Tourism.

At the time, there was a statement regarding marine tourism during the second Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum which expressed complete disagreement in terms of the mooring and stay of tourist vessels.

An excerpt from the statement is indicative: "We believe that it is possible to directly introduce a completely new and modern framework for the development of yachting with the participation of co-responsible ministries. However, the participation of all involved in yachting is also important. Previous attempts have not helped in this regard."

It is noted that the bill does not provide for the duration of stay of tourist vessels. There is a decision which provides for the inclusion of tourist vessels in a separate bill of the Ministry of Finance.

Tags: Marine tourism conflicts Ministry of Merchant Marine Ministry of Tourism
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