Greek tourism draws in­ter­est of both US vis­i­tors and in­vestors

Kathimerini English - - Focus - BY STATHIS KOUSOUNIS

US tourists have voted with their feet on Greece as a hol­i­day desti­na­tion in re­cent years, while state­side com­pa­nies both with and with­out links to Greece are re­vis­it­ing the idea of im­ple­ment­ing tourism in­vest­ments in this coun­try.

For ex­am­ple, Oak­tree Cap­i­tal Man­age­ment and Gold­man Sachs As­set Man­age­ment are both par­tic­i­pants in a ven­ture which has seen the merger of the Sani and Ikos re­sorts. The new group is ex­pected to present its in­vest­ment plans on fur­ther ex­pan­sion in Greece very soon.

On De­cem­ber 1 the new, fives­tar Wyn­d­ham Grand Athens ho­tel, a mem­ber of the Wyn­d­ham Group (one of the world’s big­gest chains with 8,000 units), will open its doors. The group is also con­sid­er­ing its fur­ther ex­pan­sion in Greece.

Mar­riott Ho­tels is re­turn­ing to Athens in 2018 fol­low­ing its fran­chis­ing agree­ment with the Chan­dris Group for the Chan­dris Metropoli­tan ho­tel on Syn­grou Av­enue, which will be re­named the Athens Mar­riott Ho­tel. US-based NCH Cap­i­tal will in­vest 100 mil­lion eu­ros in a tourism devel­op­ment on Corfu. It will be lo­cated on a plot to be con­ceded by state sell-off fund TAIPED after it won the ten­der. Greek-Amer­i­can com­pany Mage Ho­tels & Re­sorts started op­er­at­ing the Athens Tiare Ho­tel in Omo­nia Square this year, and Skotina Re­sort SA, which is also Greek-Amer­i­can, is re­al­iz­ing a 30mil­lion-euro in­vest­ment at Skotina in Pieria, cen­tral Mace­do­nia.

The pe­riod from 2012 to 2015 has proven ex­cel­lent in terms of US tourism ar­rivals and rev­enues. Ac­cord­ing to data from the Bank of Greece, US tourist ar­rivals soared from 373,800 in 2012 and 466,500 in 2013 to 591,900 in 2014 and 750,300 in 2015.

Sim­i­larly, US vis­i­tors’ spend­ing in Greece has more than dou­bled within three years: from 425.9 mil­lion in 2012 and 568.6 mil­lion eu­ros in 2013 to 655.1 mil­lion in 2014 and 943.3 mil­lion eu­ros last year.

This year, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est of­fi­cial data con­cern­ing the pe­riod from Jan­uary to Au­gust, ar­rivals from the US have risen 5.3 per­cent from 2015 to 551,200, but US tourists’ spend­ing in Greece de­clined 24 per­cent in the year to end-Au­gust to come to 515.7 mil­lion eu­ros.

Ac­cord­ing to data from the Bank of Greece, US tourist ar­rivals in the coun­try soared from 373,800 in 2012 and 466,500 in 2013 to 591,900 in 2014 and 750,300 in 2015.

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