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The Greek island Alonnisos is acknowledged as one of the best resorts of eco-tourism in the world

Alonnisos, one of the islands of the Archipelagos of North Sporades, has reached the eight top destinations in the world, where the main principal of stable development is implicated in action with success: environmental administration which does not lead to degrading of the resources, as part of the benefits from its development is used for the restoration and the protection of the latter.

Along with the Greek island, the list drawn by National Geographic Traveler included the flagship of stable development among European cities – the capital of Denmark, Copenhagen, Costa Rica, which is one of the smaller states in Central America, the capital of Finland, Helsinki, Denver which is the largest city in the American county of Colorado, the island group in Pacific Ocean Nea Kalidonia, Central African state of Gabon and the warmest city of Germany Freiburg.

It is noted that National Geographic yearly draws a list with the “best places which try to maintain the nature miracles of our precious planet”. In order to enter this list, the areas shall fulfill in steady base the strictest criteria as ecologically clean destinations.

The island of Alonissos in the west part of Aegean has entered the top of the list thanks to the so called “Parthenon of Shipwrecks” – the first Greek underwater museum with fragments of findings of 5th century, for ex. Thousands amphoras are buried in depth of 28 meters in small distance from the shore. It is believed that this is the burden of an ancient commercial ship which was called “Peristera” and has sunk here, which used to carry amphoras with wine from Chalkidiki to the Skopelos Island.

The underwater museum shows great interest for diving lovers. From August to October it is open for visits from certified amateur divers. The remaining people may explore the “cemetery of amphoras” through a virtual depiction in the Information and Education Center of Alonnisos.

In the context of ecotourism, the fact that the underwater museum is locate in National Sea Park of Alonnisos which is the largest protected marine area in Europe, plays an important role. The park, which is located along to the east coast of the island, was founded on 1992 to protect the seal “Monachous Monachous”. The creation of this park has helped the minimization of the human consequences in local ecosystem, the protection of unique nature and the preservation of the unique underwater archeological space.

 

Source: GD

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The suspension of payment of VAT on real estate has been introduced in Greece

The Greek Ministry of Finance has approved a three-year suspension of VAT on real estate. This is a very important decision for the core market. The Deputy Minister of Finance signed a decision explaining the procedure for granting VAT deferral. It also describes the procedure for resolving the issue of those property owners for whom the tax has already been deducted, but in the light of new circumstances, it fell under the deferral.

Deferral purpose

The Ministry of Finance of Greece decided to change the procedure for paying VAT (FPA) on real estate in Greece to revitalize the market and provide significant advantages to owners of small and medium-sized real estate objects. The delay, combined with the reduction of the ΕΝFIA tax (on real estate ownership) and the creation of incentives for the modernization of buildings, will lead, according to the relevant ministry, to the modernization of the construction industry.Following the implication of this provision, a significant rise and boost is expected in the purchase-and-sales of real estate properties, which will be burdened only with Transfer tax (ΦΜΑ), amounting approximately at 3,09%.

ENFIA Tax Reduction

The government of Kyriakos Mitsotakis is reviewing property taxes in Greece. One of the 1 steps was to reduce the ENFIA tax – this year they plan to reduce the rate by 10%. Last year, the Ministry of Finance decided to reduce the real estate tax by 22%. But this initiative is not supported by many experts, because they are sure that a reduction in the tax burden will lead to a decrease in revenues to the state budget. However, the government intends to cover the shortfall with funds from that state budget.
Following the law, property owners must pay ENFIA in five equal installments. For example, last year the first payment had to be made no later than September, and the last (5th) – already in January of the current year. Real estate tax reduction has affected hundreds of thousands of owners. The government had to increase ENFIA during the crisis, but now the economic situation in the country is stabilizing, so the authorities are trying to reduce the tax burden.

The growth of construction in Greece

Against the background of improving the economic situation in the country, developers have intensified, the national construction market has begun to rise. Atika began to develop especially actively – in this region a huge number of licenses for the construction of residential facilities were issued. The activation of developers is due to increased demand for Greek real estate by foreign investors. Firstly, they want to receive a residence permit in the country as a bonus to real estate, and secondly, they want to quickly acquire housing or business objects, because the cost of square meters of Greek real estate is growing rapidly.
According to the ELSTAT agency, 200% more space was allocated for development in Attica than was planned, and 17% more licenses were issued. This increase in the pace of construction in Attica is of concern to the Federation of Greek Builders. The construction boom may lead to oversupply in the market, and it, in turn, will bring down prices.
Source: GD
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10 Greek islands worth visiting right after the pandemic

Daily Telegraph, a top newspaper in United Kingdom, has published a list with ten most popular Greek islands suggested for visiting this summer.

These places have always been in high demand by tourists. Amongst the favorite holiday options in Greece, the article writer in Daily Telegraph mentions classic choice of Santorini, modern Mykonos, sunny Rhodes, authentic Kefalonia, Ko – the homeland of famous Hippocrates, charming Corfu – the most northern island in Greece, scenic Skiathos, Zante with beautiful beaches, Crete – the largest Greek island and center of travel zone.

According to the editor, tourism in Greece is known for its unique variety of choices towards travelers, with many alternatives for ideal vacations, especially today, when the search for destinations away from crowds is a new trend. Tinos and Koufonisia, Skopelos and Symi, Karpathos and Folegandros, Ithaki and Skopelos, Lefkada and Tilos are ten destinations full of scenic landscapes, contrasts, and lively memories for tourists.

The editor especially focuses in Greek island Skopelos. He admires the idyllic villages, the amazing beaches which tempt the visitor with their virgin beauty. The majestic church of Agios Ioannis is admirable, looking like it climbed upon a rock with altitude of one hundred meters! As noted by Gianna Efstathiou, the chief of tourism commission of local Municipality, the island authorities are constantly updating Greek National Tourism Organization (G.N.T.O.) offices and top media for suggestions addressed for visitors of Skopelos.

Minister of Tourism Charis Theocharis announced that the opening of tourist season in Greece is estimated for 14th of May. From this moment, the country will be ready to welcome tourists. The News Agency in Athens also mentioned the above. The chief of the department noted that this applies not only to visitors from EU countries, but also to visitors from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.

Mr. Theocharis added that in early April, a pilot opening is under discussion for countries within the EU, as well as for states where vaccination is actively progressing, such as Israel. In addition, tourists will have to be vaccinated, have antibodies against coronavirus or a negative COVID-19 test.

 

Source: GD

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The increase of prices in property market in Greece

The coronavirus pandemic has surely created a specific crisis in Greek Property market. But this concerns mostly the rental sector. Any individuals interested in purchasing properties in Greece should know that prices in the market have not decreased, but continue to actively increase.

The information which was received by the Administration of Statistics in Bank of Greece demonstrate that the cost of apartments in the country has increased at an average 3,2% in comparison to the related ratios for 2019. From early 2020 the value of residential properties in Greece has increased at an average more than 4,5%. This happens even though during 2019 the prices have already increased at 7,2%. We suggest examining the situation in further details.
During the period from July to September 2020, properties in new buildings (buildings erected during the last 5 years) have increased prices at 4,2% in comparison to the same period of 2019. The secondary market shows a medium development – the rations reached 2,6%. For reference: last year the price increase of apartments in new buildings was 7,7% and in old buildings (erected prior to 2015) it was 6,9%.

Particulars for different areas of the country

If you examine the map in detail, you will notice the high leap in property prices in Greece which focuses around Athens. Only the last trimester of the current year, the cost of square meters increased by 5,6%. The development rate in Thessaloniki is slightly lower – only 4,3%. In less popular areas, the residence cost increases less – the prices have increase at an average rate of 1,5%.
In small cities you may purchase properties in Greece at a decreased price – it was decreased by 0,3%.It is worth noting that the pandemic has been noticeable. During 2019, in comparison to records of 2018, the following areas had the following increases:

• Athens – at 10,5%
• Thessaloniki – at 6,9%
• Other resort areas – at 4,5%
• Small cities – at 3,7%

The average yearly raise in prices of residence sales is currently at 7,4%. The average three-month increase in prices for the third trimester of 2020 (in comparison to 2019) and third trimester of 2019 (in comparison to 2018) remained unchanged and reached 3,4%. The purchase of large and medium cities of the country was investigated. These records show that investments in Greece in residential properties continue to be beneficial for investors and for those who intend to acquire square meters in one of the EU countries.

 

Source: GD

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4 reasons for investments in Greece right now

1.Residence permit acquisition in Greece

The acquisition of a residence permit within the EU is not an easy task, but each country has specific conditions, under which this procedure may be accelerated. The most attractive choice are investments in Greece, which allow the resolution of the immigration matter, as Greece is considered a very attractive place for permanent residence.

The acquisition of residence permit in Greece is possible under the condition of investing at least 250 thousand euros to the country’s economy. Purchasing (one or more) properties in Greece for the aforementioned amount, collecting the necessary document package and submitting an application for a residence permit is all you have to do. The conditions for acquiring a residence permit have been significantly reduced within the context of the Golden Visa Scheme in Greece.

Its benefits:

  • granting of residence permit for 5 years
  • automatic granting of residence permit to children below 21 years and parents of the investors
  • no obligation to reside in the country

After the five-year period, the residence permit may be renewed under the condition that the property remains at the ownership of the investor. The property purchase in Greece from 250.000 € and above is one of the lowest financial conditions within the European Union for acquiring a residence permit. For example, in Spain or Portugal, the residence permit is issued following an investment of 500 thousand euro to the economy of the country, while in Cyprus this limit is 300 thousand.

The investment amount is lower in comparison to other countries

 

2.Many interesting investment programs

Today, there are several investment proposals -buildings for renovation in Athens and Thessaloniki. The best option today would be investments towards the future, for example, development projects investments, which will start to produce profit after the completion of their renovation and then will provide a stable income. Buildings or whole floors in buildings within the city centers are presenting great interest, since the demand for long-term rentals remains high. The prices for this kind of rents remain high.

In addition, there are interesting suggestions of investments in the hotel industry. This applies for areas with high tourism in Greece- Chalkidiki, Crete, Corfu. The investment in hotel industry is the most characteristic example of profitable businesses in Greek market.

You may benefit from the administration of a hotel, as well as the further resale, which is as profitable. Several hotel units have received financial support from the state this year, due to the covid situation and therefore continue to operate. The decrease in prices did not happen, but interesting offers have appeared. Until 2021, the recovery of the tourism industry is expected in Greece, which makes possible the acquisition of a beneficial property with future potential.

3.Tax benefits of the purchase and possession of properties (VAT cancellation/ENFIA decrease)

The Greek Ministry of Finance during 2020 approved a three-year grace period for VAT (24%) deposit in primary properties. This is a significant decision for the specialized market.

The Greek Ministry of Finance decided to proceed to the change of the VAT deposit procedure for properties, in order to revive the market and the supply of crucial benefits to owners of small-scale and medium-scale properties.

Individuals and companies who own any property in Greece, are obligated to pay the Unified Real Estate Tax (ENFIA). The calculation is done according to the market value of the property, its location, the number of floors, the age of the building and the façade status. On 21st July 2020, the Greek Prime-Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, announced an immediate decrease at 22% of the ENFIA tax, in order to decrease it further at 30% until the end of 2021.

The extensions, along with the ENFIA reduction and the creation of motives for the modernization of buildings, will lead, according to the Ministry, to the modernization of the construction field.

4.Suspension of the Capital Gains Tax

The sale of residencies and apartments is a beneficial business, and therefore Greece has established a Capital Gains Tax. But, until the end of 2022, its implication will be suspended. According to amendments of the current legislation, two properties may be sold without the deposit of this specific tax, within two years. If a third and further transactions are concluded, this is considered as business activity and the Capital Gains Tax is implicated.

Therefore, if you are about to invest in Greece, do it now, when the country has created the most favorable conditions for attracting foreign capitals.

 

Source: GD

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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