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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.

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Top 5 places to visit in the Peloponnese

Greece is one of the most popular destinations for tourists from all over the world. This country is chosen for recreation because of the mild Mediterranean climate, delicious national cuisine, a huge number of attractions and the crystal waters of the three seas washing Greece (Ionian, Mediterranean, and Aegean). On the territory of the state, there are plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities: ski resorts, lively megalopolises, and islands with water centers.

It is the versatility of Greece that attracts millions of people every year. Each region is unique in its own way. But there is a place that is wildly popular with the Greeks themselves. This is the Peloponnese peninsula. People come here to relax with families, friends and the second half. Why?

5 main Peloponnese features:

1. 1100 km of the cleanest beaches

2. A huge number of interesting sights

3. A great many of authentic villages

4. A variety of hotels

5. Rest options for every taste and budget

 

Note that this peninsula least of all suffered from the raids of enemy peoples, who sought to turn the Greek lands into their colonies. Therefore, the Peloponnese managed to preserve the culture and traditions of Hellas on the peninsula.

And on the Peloponnese is incredibly beautiful nature: dense forests with green pines; beautiful beaches with golden sand; the purest air, rich in healing iodine and sea salts; and awesome sunrises and sunsets.

Among all the natural splendor of the peninsula there are 5 places that you should definitely visit every tourist at least once in a lifetime:

1. Kalavryta – the narrowest railway in the world. On it runs a train to the station Diakofto. We recommend buying a ticket in this direction in order to enjoy incredible views of the gorge, which in some places narrows so much that it seems as if you can reach out to the stone wall by hand. In the town of Diakofto, you should take a stroll through the ancient streets, to the monastery of Mega Spileo and try local dishes in one of the taverns.

2. Ancient Olympia – the place where the world-famous Olympics were held. These magnificent ancient buildings are still filled with the spirit of rivalry and an unprecedented will to win. You should definitely visit the Archaeological Museum of Olympia, whose collection includes thousands of unique exhibits. Nearby there is also a park, in which there are stone figures of the main characters of ancient Greek myths and legends.

3. Sparta is located in the heart of the Peloponnese. Walking along its ruins, approach the monument of Tsar Leonid and listen to the legend of three hundred Spartans. Don’t forget to visit a city of Mystras which is under the protection of UNESCO. Here you will see a unique collection of frescoes.

4. The 6 km Corinth Canal is an artificial engineering structure created to connect the Aegean Sea with the Ionian. Three bridges were built through it. Special attention should be given to the unique cable-stayed bridge of Rio-Antirio, which is the longest in Europe.

5. Zakynthos – an island located right off the coast of the Peloponnese. It attracts the attention of the cleanest beaches (recognized as one of the most beautiful in the world) and a huge number of attractions. On Zakynthos, there is the most famous beautiful bay Navajo – the business card of the island.

Source: GD

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Australian Tourists Are the Biggest Spenders in Greece

Australian tourists visiting Greece are the biggest spenders per capita among all nationalities, according to a new study by INSETE, the research institute of the Greek Tourism Confederation.

On average, each Australian tourist spent 95.2 euros (US $109) daily in 2017. The Swiss followed, at 86.2  euros, just above the Americans who spent an average of 85.2 euros per day while visiting the country.

The highest spending tourists from EU countries were the French at 81 euros per day, followed by the Dutch at 75.1.

Based on numbers for the year 2017, the typical Australian tourist spent an average of 1,218 euros per visit, which represents an increase of 10.8 percent since 2005.

Meanwhile, the average Australian tourist remains in Greece for approximately 12.8 days – the longest stay among all the nationalities.

In 2017 alone, over 324,000 Australian citizens traveled to Greece.

 

Source:GD

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Greece is Home to Two of the Five Most Luxurious Villas for Rent Worldwide

When it comes to sought after natural beauty combined with luxury living, you will find that there are places to rent that cost a fortune. Trip Advisor found five villas around the world that offer all the comforts and luxuries one needs to relax and enjoy a great holiday.

It is no surprise that two of the best luxury villas are on Greek islands; among the finest and most popular travel destinations in the world.

Santorini
At the top of the list is a villa in Megalohori, Santorini (pictured above), with five bedrooms and five bathrooms (360 square meters).

The property is situated on the edge of a cliff. It has a swimming pool, rooms with spectacular views and a heliport. The decoration philosophy is “less is more” so that guests can relax and enjoy the unique beauty of this unique island. Its rent is $8,153 per night. Pets and smoking are not permitted.

Hawaii
In the second place, there is a home in Waimanalo, Hawaii, built by the sea. It has six bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, a private outdoor pool. There is plenty of lush greenery. The property does not allow pets or smoking. Interested parties can rent it for $2,880 per night and say “Aloha” in style.

Crete
The next option is slightly less expensive and is on the Greek island of Crete. It can accommodate eight people and costs $ 2,795 per night.

The villa is located in Apokoronas, Chania. It has four bedrooms, three bathrooms and endless views of Souda Bay, on the one side, and the White Mountains on the other. Pets and smoking are not permitted. The famous Cretan hospitality is an added free bonus.

Malibu
The fourth best villa is in Malibu, California. “Endless Views Ocean Front Estate” is true to its name. It has six bedrooms, five bathrooms and can accommodate up to 12 people. It has a swimming pool if you are too lazy to take a few steps to the beach. Smoking is not allowed and every night costs $6000.

Italy
Villa Degli Affreschi, located in Positano, Italy, is on the Amalfi Coast. A one week stay costs $24,600.

This villa was built in 1741, and it has a rich history. It occupies 500 square meters and has another 350 square meters of balconies. It has 10 bedrooms and 15 bathrooms and a luscious garden as well. It can accommodate up to 16 people and the beach is a 15-minute picturesque walk.

Source: GD

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Greece Among Top-7 Luxury Destinations of Americans in 2018, Report Says

The 30th annual Virtuoso Travel Week took place in Las Vegas last week and the top 7 destinations for luxury vacations were revealed for the year of 2018.

The luxury travel network examined data from its warehouse of more than $40.7 billion in transactions to discover the results. The findings were announced at Las Vegas’ Bellagio Resort & Casino, ARIA Resort & Casino and Vdara Hotel & Spa, where the event took place.

The most popular fall and holiday travel destinations for Americans based on future bookings for the rest of 2018 are:

Italy
France
South Africa
Israel
Germany
Japan
Greece
United States
New Zealand
Switzerland

The countries, now, that saw the largest percentage of increase in year-over-year bookings among American travelers are:

Turkey +310%
Egypt +264%
Morocco +144%
India +128%
Cayman Islands +124%
Brazil +92%
Israel +88%
Switzerland +82%
Indonesia +76%
Greece +74%

According to the findings, Greece, which was the fastest-growing destination this summer, continues to be among the top destinations for the fall and early winter this year, something that gives hope for even higher revenues for the Greek Tourist Industry.

 

Source: GD

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5+1 Reasons to Visit Thessaloniki This Summer

Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city and capital of Macedonia is at the same time historic and avant-garde, an ideal destination for a short city break.

The city has a lot to offer travelers in addition to its classic history and architecture. So here are some reasons why you should discover mesmerizing Thessaloniki this summer!

Experience the Incredible Nightlife

Thanks in part to its large student population — Thessaloniki has some of the best and biggest universities in the country — the city has some of the greatest nightlife in the Balkans. Whether you want a cozy night at the small bars along Nikis Boulevard, or barhopping at the nightlife hotspot by Valaoritou and Syngrou roads, or dancing all night out at Mylos Warehouse, Thessaloniki has something to offer you.

Stroll Down the Old Waterfront

This stunning, historic part of the city by the water is perfect for evening strolls and daytime exploration. Don’t forget to stop and admire Thessaloniki’s famous White Tower, and grab some snacks from the street vendors.

Take a Boat Ride on Thermaikos

Get on board one of the floating bars of Thessaloniki and cruise the golf of Thermaikos while enjoying the company of your friends or loved ones.

Experience the Incredible Museums and Culture

Thessaloniki has a reputation as a highly artistic city with plenty of events and institutions to keep art, history and film aficionados occupied. Definitely check out the Museum of Byzantine Culture and the Archaeological Museum, but don’t forget to visit the smaller museums like the Folk and Ethnographic Museum and the Teloglion Foundation of Art.

Taste the Local Sweets

Throughout Greece, Thessaloniki is especially known for its sweets, such as the tsoureki from a shop named Terkenlis. Local shops sell plenty of Eastern desserts, and the city is famous for its bougatsa — try some along with strong local coffee in one of the many hip coffee shops around town.

Explore the Alternative Side

Neighborhoods like Ladadika have become very popular in recent years as local hangout spots, though the area was originally home to commercial facilities. The old spaces have become trendy bars and restaurants where the city’s young people often come to hang out. For another great young hangout spot, check out the area around Rotunda and Aristotelous Square. You will find everything from gyro shops and bars to tattoo studios here, as well as plenty of people hanging out late into the night.

 

Source: GD

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Greece’s house prices on cusp of rising, as its economy continues to recover

The Greek economy was estimated to have grown by 1.6% last year and is expected to grow by another 2.5% this year, amidst a tourism upsurge. And after seven years of falling house prices, things are turning around.

In Greece’s urban areas, house prices dropped by just 0.67% during the year to Q3 2017, the lowest annual fall in house prices since Q1 2009, according to the Bank of Greece. When adjusted for inflation, house prices declined by 1.62%. During the latest quarter, house prices in urban areas fell slightly by 0.06% but actually increased by 1.18% when adjusted for inflation.

This improvement was also seen in the major cities:

  • In Athens, the average price of apartments fell slightly by 0.44% (-1.39% in real terms) during the year to Q3 2017, the lowest y-o-y decline since Q2. Quarter-on-quarter, prices increased 0.1% (1.34% in real terms).
  • In Thessaloniki, the country’s second largest city, there was a slight house price drop of 0.7% (-1.7% in real terms) y-o-y in Q3 2017, an improvement from last year’s 2.1% annual fall and the lowest decline since Q1 2009. Quarter-on-quarter, prices fell by 0.2% (increased 1% in real terms) in Q3 2017.
  • In other cities (excluding Athens and Thessaloniki), house prices fell by 1% (-2% in real terms) during the year to Q3 2017, an improvement from y-o-y declines of 2% in the previous quarter and 1.8% a year earlier. On a quarterly basis, prices increased 0.1% (1.3% in real terms) in Q3 2017.

Greek residential property prices have fallen by 42.8% (-45.9% in real terms) from the peak year of 2008.

Property transactions and construction activity are both rising again, but are still far below their peak levels. During the first three quarters of 2017, the number of residential property transfers recorded at the Athens land registry rose by 16.2% from a year earlier.

During the first ten months of 2017, the total number of permits rose by 10% to 11,205 units from the same period last year, according to Hellenic Statistical Authority. But it remains far below the 70,000 to 80,000 permits issued annually from in 2004 to 2007.

To revive the housing market, the Greek government recently offered residence to non-EU investors purchasing or renting property worth over €250,000. The residence plan is similar to measures adopted by Hungary, Spain, and Portugal. The plan is valid for five years and is open to renewal.

However, high property taxes in Greece continue to discourage demand. In fact, property taxes have increased seven times since the global financial crisis. From September 2017 to January 2018 alone, about 6.3 million owners are required to pay €3.15 billion in property tax (ENFIA), up from €3 billion in 2014 and from just €500 million in 2009. Rental taxes have also increased. For the first €12,000 of annual rent revenues, the tax is 15%, up from 11% until 2015. For rent revenues between €12,000 and €35,000 per year the rate soars to 35%.

The Greek economy grew by around 1.6% in 2017, according to the European Commission – in contrast with last year’s 0.2% contraction. After a short-lived recovery in 2014, Greece’s economy returned to recession in 2015, with GDP contracting by 0.2%, amidst the imposition of capital controls and the shutting down of most of its banks. Before this, the country’s real GDP had contracted by 3.2% in 2013, 7.3% in 2012, 9.1% in 2011, 5.5% in 2010, 4.3% in 2009 and 0.3% in 2008, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The recovery is expected to continue this year with a projected real GDP growth rate of 2.5%.

Source: GD