What do you see in store for the mobility of investments in the next 24 months in our country?
With our country’s fertile landscape and excellent product, it’s a natural outcome for it to be on the radar for high- level investment groups, elevating its services so as to compete with the traditional superpowers of tourism. However, the appropriate allocation of those investments should be our country’s focus for the years to come. The traveler’s experience at a destination consists of the level of service and the totality of the product. Our main focus is to maintain investments in the hospitality sector, but also for major transportation and infrastructure, strengthening the product and enhancing the traveler’s experience.
Do you expect to see a decline in investment levels in your field in 2021?
The number of investments depends on the aggregate demand for each country. Currently Greece is responding effectively to the pandemic and building a stronger brand name, and we expect this positioning to generate tremendous demand. I am confident that this success story, in combination with the key infrastructure projects that will take place, will keep Greece as the “secure” option for future investors.
In your sector, what are the structural changes (legislative framework, infrastructure projects, etc.) that you think should be made within the next five years so as to increase tourism-related investments in Greece?
Greece must proceed with upgrading its tourism product through a series of important public actions and legislative frameworks in order to contribute to the development of more destinations and increase tourism- related investments. The focus, among others, should be on public projects in technology, infrastructure and, most importantly, tourism education. Just to name a few actions that can serve as differentiators in the years to come, it’s important to mention the need to built conference centers in Athens and Thessaloniki, as well as state-of-the-art medical and sporting facilities, which will eventually attract alternative forms of tourism. A major investment in tourism education and development can be initiated through the creation of a high-standard Tourism & Hospitality Universities in Greece in order to compete with structures that have traditional knowledge on tourism.
How do you see demand per segment taking shape within the next two years (V-shape, U-shape, etc.)?
Since the beginning of the pandemic everyone is talking about a V-shaped recovery. However, this is highly dependable on governmental and institutional decisions. Having stayed at home for over a year now our desire to travel, experience new destinations and explore different civilizations has become more prominent than ever. This could be the main driver for an immediate return, but not all forms of travel will return simultaneously, and not all nations are able to respond to their vaccination needs, which will result in having people travel after 2023 more freely and on a daily basis. Therefore, though there will be some form of V-shaped recovery, we should expect a more stable return to normalcy.
Which areas of the country do you think will draw the most interest from investors and why?
Athens and its surrounding destinations (such as Spetses, Hydra and the islands of the Argosaronic Gulf) will continue to draw interest from investors, especially due to the development of the Athenian Riviera. Also, the GNTO’s new three-year plan aims to present a new narrative for Greek tourism that will highlight the mainland and mountainous regions, while extending the tourist season to include spring and autumn. Investors are attracted to high returns and destinations that can facilitate a long seasonality; thus, the infrastructure for great service will draw the most interest.
What do you think the investment landscape in our country will look like five years from now?
Tourism accounts for almost 30% of Greece’s GDP and occupies one fifth of the country’s workforce. Given the focus of the government’s agenda on bringing investments to the country, it is easy to predict that foreign investors will place their faith in Greece within the following years. At this stage, most investments are hospitality-oriented, but we expect to see a growth in investments related to Greek culture, enriching the travel experience, offering customized travel solutions for different types of travelers, as well as large-scale projects in career training and reskilling with an emphasis on digital skills for the travel industry
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