25 May 2011, Athens - One of the key planks of the Greek Government’s recovery plan for the economy is for the country to move away from budget summer-time focused tourism to more high-end year-round tourism, with bigger profit margins and more consistent revenues. They also want to widen tourism visitation to under-developed regions of the country such as Messinia.
Colliers cites a key example of where this ambition is being achieved:
• The Porto Heli area, within a two-hour drive of Athens Airport, is already seen as top luxury travel destination, and, despite wider economic problems, is set to see the opening of both an integrated Amanresorts complex and the first Chedi Resort in Europe in 2011/12. These forming part of the wider development of the “Porto Heli Collection”, an integrated luxury community being developed by Dolphin Capital Investors that will also include a Jack Nicklaus golf course.
Following a recent visit, Colliers International’s CEO for EMEA, Chris McLernon observed, “It is clear that despite daily jitters over Greece’s sovereign debt problems, some investors continue to take the long view and are backing the ability of quality real estate products, with an international clientele, to rise above the trend in the wider economy. It is imperative that Greece continues to attract such investment, which will be vital if the country is to overcome its current troubles.”
Another sector where Colliers International believes Greece needs to maintain investment is in its logistics sector. In the World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index 2010, Greece came in at 54 – a very poor score for a European country. If the country is to grow its logistics sector, it will need to attract the necessary infrastructure investment to make it attractive to global operators.
The potential development of a new logistics center in the Thriasio industrial district, combined with a proposed rail link to Piraeus Port, would be a good step towards moving Greece up the logistics rankings. Again, Colliers believes this is another example of where investment must be attracted against a background of harsh public spending cuts – the assistance of Greece’s Eurozone partners in providing external, affordable, investment loans will be key.
Colliers did state, however, that key to Greece being able to attract investment in the coming years, would be a sharp improvement in the availability and transparency of real estate data. Large international investors require reliable property performance data in order to judge investment decisions credibly. Currently, a key factor, other than the current debt crisis, holding back such investment is a lack of such data in the Greek real estate market.