Konstantinos Antonakakis - CPA / Partner, Grant Thornton Greece



The hotel industry in Greece recorded one of its most successful years in 2019. Our country welcomed almost 31 million visitors, and travel turnover amounted to 18.2 billion euros. Against this backdrop, there was strong investment interest from entrepreneurs in the industry, originating from domestic and international investment funds, and from tourism organizations, tour operators and their investment component. This coincided with the release and launch of the Hellinikon Project, a pivotal investment into Greek tourism infrastructure. Moreover, in 2019 the Greek State and the HRDF (Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund) further promoted the privatization of important regional properties suitable for tourism investment, such as Gournes in Heraklion and Afandou in Rhodes.

In 2020, the excellent prospects of Greek tourism were interrupted by the the COVID-19 outbreak. However, industry insights predict a strong resurgence of investment from 2022 onwards and the continuation of investment projects which were postponed due to the pandemic. The pandemic has therefore provided a second chance to investors who thought they had missed the opportunity to enter the Greek market.

In the new, post-pandemic environment, investment options will have to be adapted in order to meet the new needs and behavioral traits of contemporary travelers and consumers.

The changes to traveler / consumer behavior can be summarized as follows:

  • Safety and hygiene valued above all
  • Prioritization of accommodation that is secluded, personalized and uncrowded
  • Restricted options for movement and transportation
  • The increased use of technology for financial transactions and trades (as opposed to human mediation)
  • Decrease in business travel and continuation of ‘remote work’ culture
  • Diversification of sales channels and a turn towards online distribution channels

With the reopening of Greece’s tourism industry, the investment interest is expected to develop in the following areas:

  • Continuation of large-scale tourism projects, the most important being the Hellinikon Project
  • Investments to adapt large Greek hotel groups to new customer standards in the post-Covid era, in particular investments
    into technology, marketing, health & safety, sustainability, green investments and the renovation and reconstruction of F&B venues
  • Two-phase implementation of investment plans that had been postponed by the pandemic. Priority will be given to resorts at first, then hotels and tourist residences, followed by city hotels
  • Implementation of mature investment plans with approved financing, such as Enterprise Greece
  • Development of alternative destinations (Western Greece, North Aegean Islands, and smaller Cyclades and Ionian islands) with investments from tourism organizations and private investment funds
  • Acquisition of financially troubled hotel units through competitive bidding via banks


An important parameter for new investments into the Greek hotel industry is financing from the banking system. As it stands, banks seem willing to finance sustainable investment projects and have sufficient liquidity to support the industry.

We are moving forward to a new era: the post-Covid era. Therefore, the adaptation
of the tourism industry is both necessary and inevitable. Rising to the challenges of the new world, tourism will continue to be a leading sector, one that is essential to the development of the Greek economy, and a considerable investment option for both Greek and foreign investors.


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