Published on : Thursday, March 8, 2018
In the year 2017, there were about 30 million tourists visited Greece from the month of May to September, which was in huge number.
Tourism is Greece’s biggest industry, with arrivals rising 10 percent in 2017 from the previous year to 27.2 million and generating revenue of just over 14.5 billion euros ($18 billion).
The travel and tourism industry in Greece has contributed 32.8 billion euros to Greek economic output in 2016, which was accounting for 18.6 percent of Greek gross domestic product that year. It is also expected that the figure to rise to 23.8 percent of Greek output in 2027.
In order to increase arrivals to 36 million and revenues to 20 billion euros by 2021, Greece needs investments worth 6 billion euros a year.
The investors are interested in current tourist units and vacant buildings, and making many publicly owned buildings which could be used for tourism purposes such as in Athens where pension funds own properties that are empty and where there are plans to develop them in travel and tourism industry.
In October, the Hellenic Air Force’s social security fund leased for 40 years a building in central Athens’s Omonoia Square. The structure housed a hotel until 2008—when the collapse of Lehman Brothers set off a global financial crisis—and has been empty since. It may reopen as a hotel.
The foreign investors are also looking at properties held by banks. The travel deals are already happening. In June last year, the Athens Ledra Hotel, operated by Marriott Hotels, was auctioned off by Alpha Bank AE and was acquired by a company controlled by U.S. property firm Hines for 33 million euros.
The state needs to recover the infrastructure such as ports, marinas and regional airports which will create added value, mainly for the Greek islands. The infrastructure on the islands is still in the era of the 1960s and there is also a need to revitalize sewage and water provision systems.
The foreign investments are often delayed because of over-taxation, spatial planning and the insecurity that some investors feel when they come to Greece. It is especially given the permits that may be needed for projects from bodies such as the archaeological council or forestry authority.