The Agrarian Issues Committee considered with the I reading the Bill on Agro-Tourism together with the accompanying Bill on Changes to Tax Code.
The document was introduced by the Committee Chair, Otar Danelia, who dwelt on the Bill on the basis of the principles.
The purpose of the Bill is to diversify the rural economy, promote rural tourism, relevant tourism products and services, and agro-tourism.
The draft law regulates the legal relations correlated to the granting of agro-tourism status, defines the criteria for agro-tourism activities, as well as agro-tourism or farming, and sets out measures to promote agro-tourism and the general basis for these activities.
According to O. Danelia, a lot of work has been done to develop a legislative initiative on agro-tourism with the involvement of both international organizations and the non-governmental sector.
"This law envisages several main directions. This is to promote local farming, introduce services, including agro-tourism services. The Bill defines a number of terminologies, which provide the necessary conditions for these activities. The law also sets out certain benefits that mainly relate to tax benefits, including the VAT, income, reserving the property tax, as our goal is to maximize the involvement of local self-government and they are interested in receiving the benefits that remain for the local municipality", - O. Danelia remarked while introducing the Bill.
According to the Chairman, the document also envisages the introduction of a number of standards, involvement in state programs, and the development of support projects by the Government.
"In the transitional provisions, we have provided for the minimum amount of local products that should be consumed by agro-tourism entities. Initially it is 50%, and in the future - 70%. This is one of the most important issues and I believe that a certain period of time is needed in order to be able to adapt to the requirements of the law", - O. Danelia stated.
Pursuant to the rapporteur, it is noteworthy that the draft law meets the goals of the UN Sustainable Development and takes into account the international norms, standards and EU experience.
The draft law sets out the measures to be taken by the state - providing the opportunity to receive a grant, preferential agro-credits, as well as the development and implementation of projects and programs to promote agro-tourism, training, arranging tourism infrastructure and information centers in the respective regions.
According to the Committee members, the given Bill is undoubtedly paramount, as it will serve as a very tangible and solid basis for large-scale shifts in the field of agro-tourism in terms of poverty reduction in our country in terms of regional poverty and job creation.
The Committee approved the Bill with the I reading.