ECONOMY

Tourist asset tenders

The government said yesterday it would soon launch tenders to sell a casino and lease two large seaside tourist units as part of its efforts to upgrade tourism and boost public revenues. Greece hopes private investors will inject new life into state tourist assets, most of which have fallen into neglect. «Today’s decisions are very important for the country’s tourism and economic development,» Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis told reporters after a ministers’ meeting. He said investors will be invited through a tender to revamp and expand a golf course and build a hotel and holiday homes on 400 acres (160 hectares) on the eastern Aegean island of Rhodes. Another seaside unit at Anavyssos, a tourist resort south of Athens, will also be leased, while the government will launch a tender to sell off a casino on the Greek island of Corfu, Alogoskoufis said. Tourism Minister Fanni Palli-Petralia said the tenders will be launched soon but did not give any specific time frame. Tourism accounts for about 18 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and roughly one in five jobs and the pro-business government wants to attract wealthier tourists with golf, yachting and spa resorts. So far, foreign investors have largely shunned the country’s tourism sector, saying they are deterred by bureaucracy. Palli-Petralia said said a total of 15.7 million foreign tourists visited Greece last year, bringing in -14.5 billion. (Reuters)