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Free camping in Greece outlawed

Development Minister Evangelos Venizelos last Thursday tabled a bill amendment that levies hefty fines upon any camper that does not use an organized camping<.> site. The amendment virtually outlaws free camping in Greece.
Attached to a bill on the establishment of a food control agency, the amendment provides for a fine of 50,000 drachmas per person to be imposed on campers who put up their tents anywhere other than an organized site, but especially at archaeological sites, the seashore, or near coastal areas.
The provision will be enforced and the fine collected by the local government authority in the place of the offense. Prior to the amendment, the ability to camp on public land in Greece largely depended on the degree of tolerance of local authorities.
Harmonie, a consortium of 44 selected Greek camping sites, some time ago released some basic data on camping in Greece. The consortium`s president, Theodoros Orkopoulos, said many may be surprised to learn that camping attracts high-income and well-educated travelers.
Foreign guests, he said, are always polite, well-bred and have a high regard for the environment. They enjoy camping as a sport and pay more during their holidays than the average hotel guest to Greece.
Greek campers, however, are new at the game and an entirely different breed, he said. Most only camp out during the peak summer season and do so to save money and not as a means of getting in touch with the natural environment.
Mr. Orkopoulos believes that the day will come when Greek campers will respect the environment, respect the rules posted at each site, respect daily quiet hours and camp out more often. But this requires some education and promotion.
Presently, only about 5% of camping guests are Greek. Harmonie would like to see the government, through EOT, promote the sport to Greeks and to campers abroad, and to pay a little attention to the sector.
While camping services more than 80% of all arrivals by road, which means a large number of overnights, there are no official statistics that denote the importance of the sector to the overall tourism picture, he says.

Development Minister Evangelos Venizelos last Thursday tabled a bill amendment that levies hefty fines upon any camper that does not use an organized camping<.> site. The amendment virtually outlaws free camping in Greece.

Attached to a bill on the establishment of a food control agency, the amendment provides for a fine of 50,000 drachmas per person to be imposed on campers who put up their tents anywhere other than an organized site, but especially at archaeological sites, the seashore, or near coastal areas.

The provision will be enforced and the fine collected by the local government authority in the place of the offense. Prior to the amendment, the ability to camp on public land in Greece largely depended on the degree of tolerance of local authorities.

Harmonie, a consortium of 44 selected Greek camping sites, some time ago released some basic data on camping in Greece. The consortium`s president, Theodoros Orkopoulos, said many may be surprised to learn that camping attracts high-income and well-educated travelers.

Foreign guests, he said, are always polite, well-bred and have a high regard for the environment. They enjoy camping as a sport and pay more during their holidays than the average hotel guest to Greece.

Greek campers, however, are new at the game and an entirely different breed, he said. Most only camp out during the peak summer season and do so to save money and not as a means of getting in touch with the natural environment.

Mr. Orkopoulos believes that the day will come when Greek campers will respect the environment, respect the rules posted at each site, respect daily quiet hours and camp out more often. But this requires some education and promotion.

Presently, only about 5% of camping guests are Greek. Harmonie would like to see the government, through EOT, promote the sport to Greeks and to campers abroad, and to pay a little attention to the sector.

While camping services more than 80% of all arrivals by road, which means a large number of overnights, there are no official statistics that denote the importance of the sector to the overall tourism picture, he says.

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