Glamping as a global holiday trend, is booming during the last couple of years.
Glamorous camping offers a uniquely comfortable stay in nature – hence the name, which has been adopted by most campsites, seeking to offer luxurious services.
Given its eco-friendly and adventurous character, it’s gaining more and more popularity among travelers, to which the pandemic has only contributed. If you are considering starting your glamping business and want to find out how does the law define and regulate glamping sites, keep reading!
Glamping in Greece has been legislated in May 2020 by Greek Law 4688/2020 “Special forms of tourism, provisions for tourism development and other provisions”, which is still a rather progressive step in the industry.
It has been implemented by the Greek Ministry of Tourism with the aim to regulate and ensure that all glamping sites are set up with a high level of standard. Due to this legislation, glamping is recognized by the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) as a special form of tourism for the first time.The law defines glamping as an experience of “staying in nature in luxurious, separate structures, in harmony with the environment and offering upgraded services to visitors”.
The law 4688/2020 has also introduced a glamping Certification Seal – a logo created by the Ministry of Tourism. It is a label with a duration of 5 years, provided to hotels and organized tourist camps that meet the quality criteria and functional specifications of glamping.
The quality criteria for obtaining the glamping Certification Seal
To become a certified glamping site in Greece, the business must meet the four following criteria:
1. Glamping accommodations of various types and sizes in well-equipped campsite, or semi-permanent structures of high-quality architectural design, which can be transported, assembled and disassembled, such as domes and yurts
2. Harmonization of camping facilities and semi-permanent structures with the natural environment with the least possible intervention
3. Use of environmentally friendly materials throughout the installation of camping facilities
4. Promotion of thematic tourism activities – specific forms of tourism, as described in L. 4582/2018 (A’ 208)
The functional specifications and the certification process
Alongside the quality criteria, there are further functional specifications to be followed, in order to obtain the glamping certification seal. These functional specifications are developed by the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels (XEE), then approved by the Ministry of Tourism.
The certification bodies who perform the regular quality checks of the accommodations are accredited by the The Hellenic Accreditation System (ESYD).
Accredited bodies shall be authorized by XEE to perform the audit checks and shall establish a list of the authorized businesses.
The list of certified glamping sites is posted on the official websites of the following institutions:
a) Ministry of Tourism
b) Hellenic Chamber of Hotels
What are the conditions and application process of obtaining the glamping license?
1. The applying hotel or campsite operator, shall have a rating of at least 3* accommodation and submit the application form with the supporting documents to the Ministry of Tourism.
2. A collegiate body shall be formed to verify the application and determine whether both – the quality criteria as well as the functional specifications are met, and shall give a proposition of either acceptance or rejection.
3. The certification seal shall be issued according to the judgement of the Ministry of Tourism and checks may be carried out without prior notification during the whole validity period of the glamping license.
4. The certification seal can only be used and promoted, after the above procedure has been completed.
5. All quality criteria and functional specifications must be met by the certified operators throughout the entire validity period of 5 years. If the operator applies any modification to their functional specifications or quality criteria, they are obliged to inform all the following institutions in writing, so that the necessary procedure can be reiterated:
a) Ministry of Tourism
b) Hellenic Chamber of Hotels
c) Certification Body
6. Operators receiving the glamping Certification Seal must be registered in the Register of Tourism Enterprises of the Ministry of Tourism.
What is the process of granting the glamping Certification Seal until the functional specifications are released?
Until the functional specifications are set, the collegiate body will proceed with the audit and give a proposition of acceptance or rejection of granting the provisional glamping license.
Businesses that have received the temporary glamping license shall go through a follow up quality control, according to the set functional specifications by the entities authorized by the XEE.
Can the glamping license be revoked?
The competent body of the Ministry of Tourism, may revoke the glamping certificate if,
a. The property discontinues functioning
b. An audit has verified, that one of the functional specifications or the quality criteria has been violated
c. The 5-year duration period has expired and no renewal application has been submitted
In what cases can fines be imposed?
1. In the event that the business continues to use the revoked glamping certification seal.
2. Operators that use the term glamping and haven’t been granted the above certification.
3. Certification bodies can be fined in case of providing approval for certification, without corresponding to the operational standards of glamping.
The above-mentioned fines are imposed by the competent body of the Ministry of Tourism.
Additional procedures are provided for project implementations in protected areas, such as the Natura 2000 areas.
If you want to know more about the legislation on Glamping in Greece you can find the corresponding Government Gazette here.
Further details of the functional specification are going to be defined and published by the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels (XEE). Stay tuned!