BUSINESS

Greek tourism draws interest of both US visitors and investors

STATHIS KOUSOUNIS

TAGS: Tourism, Business

US tourists have voted with their feet on Greece as a holiday destination in recent years, while stateside companies both with and without links to Greece are revisiting the idea of implementing tourism investments in this country.

For example, Oaktree Capital Management and Goldman Sachs Asset Management are both participants in a venture which has seen the merger of the Sani and Ikos resorts. The new group is expected to present its investment plans on further expansion in Greece very soon.

On December 1 the new, five-star Wyndham Grand Athens hotel, a member of the Wyndham Group (one of the world’s biggest chains with 8,000 units), will open its doors. The group is also considering its further expansion in Greece.

Marriott Hotels is returning to Athens in 2018 following its franchising agreement with the Chandris Group for the Chandris Metropolitan hotel on Syngrou Avenue, which will be renamed the Athens Marriott Hotel. US-based NCH Capital will invest 100 million euros in a tourism development on Corfu. It will be located on a plot to be conceded by state sell-off fund TAIPED after it won the tender. Greek-American company Mage Hotels & Resorts started operating the Athens Tiare Hotel in Omonia Square this year, and Skotina Resort SA, which is also Greek-American, is realizing a 30-million-euro investment at Skotina in Pieria, central Macedonia.

The period from 2012 to 2015 has proven excellent in terms of US tourism arrivals and revenues. According to data from the Bank of Greece, US tourist arrivals soared from 373,800 in 2012 and 466,500 in 2013 to 591,900 in 2014 and 750,300 in 2015.

Similarly, US visitors’ spending in Greece has more than doubled within three years: from 425.9 million in 2012 and 568.6 million euros in 2013 to 655.1 million in 2014 and 943.3 million euros last year.

This year, according to the latest official data concerning the period from January to August, arrivals from the US have risen 5.3 percent from 2015 to 551,200, but US tourists’ spending in Greece declined 24 percent in the year to end-August to come to 515.7 million euros.

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