BUSINESS

Hotels hang ‘For sale’ signs

More than 400 hotels across Greece, mostly small to medium-size operations, have put up 'For sale' signs under pressure from the economic crisis. According to data collected from real estate agents and classifieds for the first five months of the year, the owners of 406 hotels are looking for a buyer for their business. The hotels are located in tourism-oriented parts of the country, such as Rhodes, Corfu, Halkidiki, Crete and Kos. A breakdown of figures shows that out of the 81 hotels up for sale in the Ionian region, 49 are on Corfu, 15 on Zakynthos, 12 on Cephalonia and five on Lefkada. The larger hotels up for sale are mostly in the broader Athens area. The total amount being asked for the operations reaches 2.4 billion euros. However, industry sources believe that the figure is much higher, around 5 billion euros, after taking into account hotels for sale that are not being advertised. With the Greek economy entering its second year of recession in 2010, income in the tourism sector is seen playing a crucial role in determining the extent of the downturn. Nikos Angelopoulos, president of the Association of Hellenic Tourism Enterprises (SETE), told Kathimerini in an interview that visitors are expected to spend less this summer than they did last year, resulting in a drop in revenue for the sector. «The global economic crisis and the trend in recent years for Europeans to book late have formed a blurry picture which doesn't leave much room for safe predictions,» he said.

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