BUSINESS

Investors have their eyes on tourism infrastructure

NIKOS ROUSSANOGLOU

TAGS: Tourism, Economy

Foreign investors in Greek tourism have turned to the development of plots for the creation of holiday complexes (i.e. resorts combining hotel units, golf courses and holiday housing), according to Enterprise Greece officials who are in contact with funds and investment groups from abroad on a daily basis.

There is a clear difference in the strategy of foreign investors who until just a few months ago would not even consider discussing the development of a plot from scratch, said Angela Michalopoulou, investment director at Enterprise Greece, during an event on Wednesday ahead of the Mediterranean Resort & Hotel Real Estate Forum, which takes place in Athens on October 17-19.

That trend is attributed both to foreign investors realizing that there are no existing tourism complexes for sale in Greece, and to the constant growth of Greek tourism and its future prospects thanks to the investments already made in hotel units and infrastructure.

According to Michalopoulou, the biggest investment interest is focused on Crete, the Dodecanese, the Peloponnese and Halkidiki, with Dimitris Konstantopoulos, alternate general director at Piraeus Bank, confirming the high demand for the financing of investments in the Peloponnese.

In this context, said Mark Cheney of the Questex Hospitality Group, which is organizing the forum, the tourism sector could trigger investments of 22.4 billion euros in the coming years, which would generate the creation of some 600,000 jobs.

As Enterprise Greece president Grigoris Stergioulis stressed, if the above estimates prove correct and the investment plans under way are completed, tourism will employ around 30 percent of the country’s workforce, up from 23.4 percent today.

Yiannis Goulios, alternate secretary-general of the Greek National Tourism Organization, highlighted the implementation of 350 investment plans in the last three years, concerning the creation or modernization of four- and five-star hotels with a total capacity of 26,000 beds, that have helped tourism grow further.

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