Tourism projects of 600 million euros to finally materialize

A much-needed injection from investment is coming from three large tourism projects in Greece, worth 600 million euros in total, that had for years been stymied by bureaucratic problems. The Hellenic Center for Investment (ELKE) announced yesterday it is rapidly proceeding with the implementation of the projects to materialize on Crete, in Volos and the tiny island of Arkoudi in the Ionian Sea, through foreign funds. «These are the first tangible results of ELKE’s new strategy for facilitating lingering investment plans and lifting the counter-incentives that had troubled investors,» stated ELKE President Yiannis Anastassopoulos. He also estimated that «the realization of investments of great size and quality will considerably improve the business climate, as foreign investors will be convinced in practice that Greece is a favorable investment destination and follows a business-centered policy.» ELKE managed to overcome bureaucratic obstacles and, in association with the Economy and Tourism ministries, has proceeded with the investments in tourism development. On Crete, the project refers to a high-quality development worth 250 million euros which is in the completion stage and will create more than 300 permanent and seasonal jobs. Another 250 million euros is to be invested in Volos, in the Iolkos area, in a luxury hotel complex. It will include 150 five-star rooms, top-quality villas, a conference center, a golf course covering 1.2 square kilometers, a thalassotherapy and health center, a heliport and a marina for 150 boats. The entire project is expected to create 800 jobs. Finally, the investment on Arkoudi, an island between Cephalonia, Lefkada and Ithaca, is forecast to be on the scale of 100 million euros and cover an area of 4 Creating 300 jobs, the development will include 140 superluxurious lodgings, a marina, a spa, an 18-hole golf course and other sports facilities. At least another four similar projects are soon to be moved forward, too, while the Tourism Ministry has now been approached by more potential investors waiting for the new land usage framework. A number of properties of the Tourism Development Company (ETA) are to bring profit to the state through long-term leasing. They are the casino on Corfu, the marinas at Neo Faliron and Alimos, the golf course at Aphantou on Rhodes and seven Xenia hotels. ETA intends to have them all leased by early 2006. The company has also accused the Greek National Tourism Organization property administrators of not using estates it acquired more than 20 years ago, with the state facing the risk of losing some of these assets today.

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