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WTTC (World Travel & Tourism Council): Greece on the list with the most probable tourist destinations

According to a report by WTTC, despite the significant shock in tourist market due to the global corona-virus pandemic, the field of tourism is predicted to be the “key” scetor for Greece, in order to recover and resurface.

The President of WTTC, Gloria Guevara, declared that tourist field has been fundamental for Greek economy during 2019, due to the successful governmental policy towards the extension of tourist season beyond summer months.

“The government should also be congratulated for the immediate and rapid response to COVID-19, by imposing restrictions even before the virus arrived in the country. Since then, the government has co-operated closely with public and private sectors, ensuring that there are safety protocols and standards which will lead the country to a fast-track recovery. At the same time, Greece could be one of the first European countries to welcome tourists”, she underlines, while she mentions that “our report underlines how vital is the tourist sector for the promotion of Greek economy’s recovery, by creating new employment positions and attracting visitors to the country, with positive outcome for the whole chain of tourism. Until then, it is vital that all governments assist in the protection of this sector -the spine of global economy- which is currently struggling for survival, with more than 100 million positions being lost during 2020”.

Contribution of Tourism- Financial Data

In Greece

In the Economic Impact Report (EIR), it is underlined that during the previous year, 2019, the tourist sector created almost 850 thousand job positions, more than one out of five (21,7%) of the total human resources of the country. Its contribution in the GDP was 39,1 billion euro or 20,8%, increased at a percentage of 12,1% compared to 2018 and exceeding the development of total economy for third year in a row.

The report additionally mentions that travel expenses amounted to 21,3 billion euro, amount which represents approximately one third (30,1%) of the total country’s exports.

Globally

At a global scale, the travel and tourist sector exceeded the increase rate of GDP globally at 2,5% for ninth year in a row. With a glace at the working sector, it is obvious that tourism offers job positions to 330 million workers, viz. one out of 10 working spots.

Source:GD

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Top news in Greece

Greece-USA

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met with President Donald Trump at the White House on January 7 to expand relations between Greece and America. As a result of the visit, a defense agreement and the Act on Security and Energy Partnership in the Eastern Mediterranean were signed.

Natural gas

State-controlled gas companies in Greece and Bulgaria (Depa and Bulgartransgaz) have agreed to acquire a 20% stake in the new LNG terminal, owned by Gastrade, which will be created in the northern port of Alexandroupolis. The terminal includes an offshore gasification plant and a pipeline. The new project will help Greece gain a foothold as a regional energy center and improve Bulgaria’s energy security.

Greek stocks

Greece’s main stock index rose 43% in 2019, making the Athens Stock Exchange the market leader in Europe. The German business newspaper Handelsblatt reported that rising prices for Greek assets reflect the increased optimism of international investors in the Greek market.

Greek bonds

The Greek Government Debt Management Agency informs that it plans to additionally raise from € 4 to 8 billion in 2020, although the available reserves fully satisfy the needs of state financing. The PDMA statement said that the adopted debt management strategy will allow the state to reduce its dependence on short-term debt.

Greek economy

The Bank of Greece raised its forecast for GDP in Greece. In 2019, it grew to 2.4% compared with 2.1% in 2018, which indicates an acceleration of economic recovery. For 2020, the Central Bank maintained its expectations for GDP growth at 1.9%. The Greek Parliament approved the final budget for 2020, which envisages a 2.8% GDP growth this year.

Economic sentiment

Greek economic sentiment jumped to 109.5 points in December compared with 107.0, which were recorded earlier, according to the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research of Greece. This is the highest rate in 12 years. Improvements are recorded in all areas, especially in the construction sector and in the service sector. Also, statistics for December 2019 show that Greek production at the end of the year grew at the fastest rate in Europe.

Sea tourism

The number of passengers on cruise ships in 2019 increased by 15%. A similar result is expected in 2020. Sea cruises are one of Greece’s fastest-growing tourism products. According to the Association of Greek Ports, the number of passengers on cruise ships exceeded 5.5 million last year, compared with 4.8 million in 2018.

Golden Visa

The number of residence permits issued under the Golden Visa program last year increased by 22% compared with a year earlier, indicating the growing popularity of the investment program. In 2019, 2239 permits were issued, and in 2018 – only 1833. Since 2014, when the program started, a total of 6304 residence permits were issued.

 

Source: GD

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In 2020, Greece is preparing for the growth of the tourism sector

The tourism sector, which accounts for about 25% of Greece’s GDP, will grow this year. And, as the Minister of Tourism Harry Theoharis noted, even despite the consequences of the closure of the British travel giant Thomas Cook in 2019.

Travel Sector Value

Greece emerges from a long-term debt crisis and makes the most of its resources – access to the sea, many islands, mountains, historical artifacts, museums, and attractions. All of them allow you to attract as many vacationers as possible. Income from the tourism sector will help the country recover completely.

Currently, approximately every fifth resident of Greece is engaged in servicing vacationers. Active construction of hotels is underway, which give new jobs. And a huge number of Greeks rent housing through the Airbnb service.

Industry revenues and risks

Last year, industry revenues grew by 12-15% compared to the €16 billion that the country earned in 2018. The growth was facilitated by an increase in the number of tourists by 4-5%, reports Reuters.

About 33 million vacationers visited Greece in 2018. The collapse of the British tour operator Thomas Cook in September ruined the plans of thousands of vacationers, causing a significant blow to the Greek tourism industry. Many had to quickly change their plans and choose other countries for recreation.

Initially, the loss of Greece due to the closure of the tour operator was estimated at €500 million. According to preliminary estimates, the situation could not normalize until 2020, which greatly worried the conservative government, which came to power in July.

But sector experts have found new opportunities, and therefore the Minister of Tourism is again counting on excellent results shortly. This year’s earnings are expected to be better than the previous ones.

Sector plans and objectives

In 2020, the Ministry of Tourism intends to significantly increase the number of vacationers, which should lead to a double-digit increase in income. Currently, changes are planned in the sector, for example, the opening of diving tourism. It was previously limited due to numerous artifacts located on the seabed. The infrastructure is being modernized and expanded, its adaptation for foreign tourists who do not know the Greek language.

The Ministry of Tourism allocates funds for the repair of motorways in resort areas and for the construction of new transport interchanges, which simplify trips to attractions or small villages.

But the sector remains vulnerable, as there are risks beyond the control of the Greek government. The Minister of Tourism notes that Greece is carefully studying climate change to take timely measures to prevent negative consequences. And at present, the country has a strong brand and the potential to gain a greater share of the tourism market.

 

Source: GD

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Greek property prices have risen in 2019

The real estate market in the largest cities in Greece showed an impressive increase in prices in 2019. The cost has increased not only for buyers but also for tenants. According to real estate sites in the country, the Greek real estate market is one of the fastest-growing in southern Europe. Its most active participants are foreign investors who are interested in obtaining a residence permit when buying real estate.

Last year price statistics

The highest price increases in 2019 were recorded in Thessaloniki, the 2nd largest city in Greece. The average increase in property prices here was 28% compared to 2018.

Athens is not significantly behind Thessaloniki. In the capital, price increases averaged 27.8%. The city of Piraeus took third place – its prices rose by 16.3%.

Rental prices also began to skyrocket. Headed the list of Piraeus – the third-largest city in Greece on the northeast coast of the Saronicos Gulf. Compared to the previous year, rental growth in Piraeus averaged 25.2%.

Rental prices on the islands of the Saronic Gulf, on Corfu, in the city of Trikala and the central and western suburbs of Athens increased from 19% to 23.1%.

The phenomenon of the real estate market

The jump in 2019 brought real estate prices in many parts of the country to the pre-crisis level. But in some districts and cities on the periphery of mainland Greece last year there was a significant reduction in prices. Real estate market experts do not find a rational explanation for this phenomenon. For example, a decrease of 19.4% was recorded in the Greven region of Western Macedonia, and a decrease of 8.2% in the regions of Trikala, Boeotia, Fochis, and Drama.

Previously, the highest real estate prices were recorded in Athens. But this year the capital lost ground – Thessaloniki became the champion. According to the housing price index for the year, the average cost growth was 6.5%. Therefore, those who want to buy a house or apartment in Greece should hurry up – a price reduction is not expected.

 

Source: GD

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3,500-year-old tombs discovered in Greece

A unique find was discovered by American archaeologists on the Peloponnesian Peninsula. 3 tombs were built in the distant past near the palace of the Mycenaean era, so scientists have suggested that they contain the bodies of monarchs. Surprisingly, the tombs were not looted and completely preserved. According to historians, the find is more than 3,500 years old.

Characteristics of tombs

One tomb is larger – its diameter is 12 meters if you take measurements at the floor level. It preserved 4.5 meters of walls, and everything above that is more than 5 meters was destroyed. The walls are made of stone. The second tomb is about ⅓ smaller than the first, and the walls have survived only to level 2 meters.

In the Mycenaean era, the height of the walls of the tombs usually reached 15 meters inland, and at the top was a massive dome. Both tombs are tombs of the “tolos” type – massive underground dome structures that were built in the Mycenaean kingdom. Their height can reach 15 meters.

The tombs have been excavated over the past two years by archaeologists at the American University of Cincinnati, who also discovered a nearby rich burial site, known as the “Tomb of the Gryphon Warrior.” She was considered the most sensational find of the decade.

All three graves, along with another tomb found about a decade ago, were built earlier than the vast palace, whose ruins are nearby. It is described as the “palace of the wise king Nestor”, the image of which is presented in Homer’s Odyssey.

The fate and value of the find

Information on the discovery of the tomb was provided by the Greek Ministry of Culture. It is not yet clear what will be done with the discovered artifacts – whether they will remain on the territory of the country, or whether American archaeologists will have the right to take them with them for research.

According to the Minister of Culture of Greece, the tombs remained intact robbers only because they could not get to their internal contents. And because relic hunters were unable to find the entrance to the tomb. Without the involvement of special equipment, it was quite difficult to penetrate the tombs, because they are littered with earth and rubble due to the collapse of domed roofs. But, alas, the robbers successfully removed all the contents from the Mycenaean grave, which is nearby.

If we take into account that the findings of archaeologists in other graves and tombs of the Mycenaean era were impressive – they managed to find precious metal products, jewelry, bronze jewelry – now researchers have a chance to get even more amazing artifacts.

The Ministry of Culture has already expressed great joy regarding the discovery, as it is expected that the contents of the tombs will help to learn as much as possible about the life of people in the early phases of the Mycenaean civilization of Greece.

The Mycenaean era began in 1650 BC and ended in 1100 BC Over 550 years, there have been many events that have led to the emergence of myths and legends of ancient Greece, including the legendary Trojan War, described in the Iliad and Odyssey.

 

Source: GD

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Residential real estate in Greece in 2020 will become more expensive

Specialists of the Greek analytical agency Geoaxis Property & Valuation Services analyzed the situation in the real estate market and concluded that in 2020 prices will rise. In 2019, the cost of residential facilities in the country increased by 10%. And in some regions, a significant rise in price was recorded, for example, in the center of the Greek capital, the price increased by about 30%.

Analysts say the real estate market will continue to recover in the next 12 months, as the country’s economy is recovering rapidly. Giannis Xilas, head of the Geoaxis analytical agency, is confident that in about a year the price growth rate will begin to slow down.

How prices are rising by district

The average cost of apartments in new buildings in annual terms has increased by 9%. Real estate on the secondary market has risen not so much – only 8% year on year. Analysts who monitor the price dynamics in Athens said that the most in the 3rd quarter of 2019 increased in five districts of the capital: in Amarousion (northern suburbs of Athens), Peristerion (western), Holargos (eastern), Abelokipi (eastern) and Paleo Faliro (south).

In Abelokipi, it is now possible to purchase apartments in new houses at a price of approximately € 1,790 per square meter. This means that the rise in price over the past year was 9.85%. In Holargos, residential real estate is sold at € 2570 per square meter – prices for the year increased by 8.72%.

In Amarusion, residential property is priced at € 1,830 per square meter. The price increase here amounted to 9.75%. The cheapest is to buy an apartment in Peristerion, because, despite a 9.2% increase in price, the price remains quite loyal – only € 1,500 per square meter.

In Thessaloniki over the year, the value of real estate increased by 28.3% year on year. On average, in a city, you can now buy a square meter of housing for € 1300.

Advantages of Greece

But, in any case, in comparison with other European capitals, Athens still offers affordable prices due to the recent crisis in the country from which Greece is successfully emerging.

Due to the instability of the economy, the cost of apartments, cottages, and offices began to plummet several years ago. Now prices are rising, foreign investors are showing great interest in Greek real estate in the primary and secondary segments. And sales transactions also motivate representatives of other countries to participate in the Golden Visa program.

Recent data proves that more than 0.8% of the Greek population is focused on the purchase of the residential real estate, which is 165% higher compared to last year.

 

Source: GD

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Tourism Development in Greece

Experts note record levels of investment in the tourism sector in Greece. Over the past four years, more than 55,000 new beds in 4 * and 5 * hotels have been opened nationwide. In Athens alone, in the first half of 2019, more than 40 new hotel complexes appeared.

Greece is a promising platform for international hotel chains, since currently only 1.7% of the total number of hotels in the country operates under international brands.

A survey of investors was conducted at the International Hotel Investment Forum this year. Its results showed that Greece is one of the most attractive venues in Europe for investment in hotel real estate.

Reasons for attractiveness

Since 2012, the number of foreign tourists visiting Greece has doubled. Over 12 months, approximately 33 million people come to the country. Against the backdrop of this influx, tourism revenues grew by 1/3 – up to € 16 billion. Currently, the tourism sector accounts for about 1/5 of GDP.

Thanks to its vast cultural heritage and unique Mediterranean climate, Greece is one of the best tourist destinations in the world. During the economic crisis, there was a slight decline in interest in this country, which is associated with insufficient financing of the tourism industry and a decrease in the overall level of customer service.

However, now that the country has begun to rapidly grow its economy and successfully settle accounts with international lenders, the government has begun to pay great attention to the tourism industry, since its strategic importance for the country is obvious.

Current situation

The government, in tandem with the Ministry of Tourism, is doing everything possible to increase the attractiveness of local resorts for foreign tourists. But there are still a lot of problems in the industry, which can only be solved through new investments.

Firstly, it was not so easy to cope with the rapidly growing demand. Secondly, Greece needs to look for ways to get around Turkey and Egypt in the competition. To cope with these tasks, the Greek government is developing a strategic plan for tourism development, designed for 10 years.

It is planned to pay maximum attention to improving the infrastructure of resort areas. Already, the modernization of the main transport routes has begun. New roads and interchanges will be built that will simplify travel in Greece, and especially – trips to resort towns.

 

Source: GD

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The real estate market in Thessaloniki is booming

The rating of the northern capital of Greece on Airbnb reached the level of Athens. And, as a result, the real estate market in Thessaloniki shows steady growth over the past few years. The main reason for the positive dynamics is renovation. Owners of secondary housing have made quality repairs and put up the updated property on the Airbnb website. What led to a sharp decrease in the number of vacant apartments.

Sales growth is marked in deals and old houses. They are popular with the inhabitants of the Balkans –, especially among the Serbs. 1 m2 of housing in Serbia itself costs at least € 1-1,500. Apartments in Thessaloniki can be found for € 12, 25 and 35,000.

Dynamics of deals 2017-2019

In accordance with the official statistics on the real estate market, 2,000 sales and purchases were made in 2017. In 2018, their number increased by 1,000. In early 2019, the Real Estate Appraisal Service in Thessaloniki notes a slight decline, but the situation should improve with the arrival of September. During this period, a surge in business activity is observed, and the number of real estate objects that have been formalized has increased significantly.

Currently, you can purchase an apartment in the northern capital of Greece for around € 50,000. A significant increase in prices in the near future is not predicted – the market will be stable.

The role of short term rental

The improvement in the real estate market is due to the fact that homeowners began to actively rent it out to tourists and visitors to the city. Short-term rentals are not only interested in local residents who own apartments, houses or cottages, but also foreign investors. They are actively acquiring Greek real estate for profit.

Key perspectives

Real estate market experts believe that the popularity of Airbnb is temporary. Since the cost of repairing real estate takes a very long time to pay off when renting it out for a short-term lease. Although according to experts, the trend of “renovation + rent” led to a significant improvement in the appearance of the city – many abandoned and destroyed buildings were restored and repaired.

 

Source: GD

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Airbnb: price dynamics for Greek residential and commercial real estate

Airbnb rental services are very popular with tourists. And this is especially noticeable by the number of concluded short-term lease agreements in Greece. The online service has had a significant impact on trends that have long been formed in the Greek real estate market.

New elite district in Athens

Traditionally, in the historical center of Athens was expensive housing. But recently prices began to rise in other parts of the city. According to Airbnb, renting per day in the Greek capital costs €52. And housing in the Kukaki area, whose popularity is increasing exponentially, is available on average for € 51. Last summer, the rental rate rose to €61. And the average rental price per month in Kukaki now stands at €679.

North Kifissia is historically more elite than Kukaki, but the demand for housing in it is significantly lower. Average daily rent is €59. And it turns out that the cost of renting an apartment in Kukaki is approximately on par with Kifissia.

Changes in the commercial real estate market

The growth of rent for business objects has provoked a decrease in demand for commercial premise; in the center of Athens particularly. Business property on the avenues of Singru and Kifissia has become a source of new investment opportunities – the purchased office complexes are being rebuilt as housing for sale and rent.

For July, August and September 2018, in offices of category A the monthly rent was increased to €16 -€21 per m2, and in offices of category B the price increased to €8 – €14 per m2. Prices for offices of the third category remained unchanged.

The greatest demand is for office centers in areas located close to the main thoroughfares and the metro, with its own warehouse and relatively small age of the building.

Attica numbers

In the northern part of Attica, first-class office space in buildings adjacent to main roads is in demand. On Kifissia Avenue, there you can rent an office for €11- €18 per m2 per month.

In the southern part of Attica, more expensive are offices with views of the sea, as well as being relatively close to the beach. On the Poseidon embankment, renting the first-class office in the complex “Stavros Niarchos” per month is €11- €17 per m2.

In the western part of the periphery, the cost per square meter ranges from €5- €11 per month per m2. In the Piraeus area, demand for offices along the Akti Condilis and Akti Miauli roads has increased. Here you can rent a room for work for €6 – €13 m2 / month.

 

Source: GD

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2018 was the best in the tourism industry in Greece

In the 12 months of last year, almost 34 million people from around the world visited Greece. The tourism industry accounts for 20% of the gross domestic product.

Most popular destinations

The most popular tourist destinations in 2018 were three destinations: the islands of Mykonos and Cephalonia and the capital Athens. Although, this choice of tourists is not surprising. These locations have always been in demand because they have a large number of attractions and entertainment, beautiful landscapes and developed infrastructure.

Right behind the top three are the islands of Santorini, Rhodes, and Crete. A positive trend was demonstrated by Samos and Lesbos. Industry experts suggest that in the near future the islands will be able to fully restore their positions and become one of the leaders.

Travel industry problems

2018 was a record year for Greece in terms of the number of tourists, but there are still difficulties in the industry. And they require an immediate solution. On the one hand, a huge number of prestigious hotels have opened. On the other hand, some objects are among the worst in the world. For example, the airport on the most popular (!) Island of Mykonos. There are often long delays of flights.

Representatives of the tourism industry are interested in providing tourists with the best service. And the new airport manager Mykonos has already informed about the planned modernization.