Despite the pandemic, uncertainty and war in Ukraine, the flow of hotel investments remains strong with many new projects aimed at Athens’ two hotspots, the city center and the Athens Riviera.
How many new hotels does Athens need? In the city center, there is a hotel every 50 meters. Built to high standards, the hotels pay investors to accommodate armies of tourists who descend on the city every day. However, what is happening now that the country appears to have hit new tourism records and the industry is aiming to extend the season? Are the hotels enough or do we need more? In the market they talk about new investments and probably many of them.
With the strong new tourism conditions, international and domestic businessmen seek to be active in the hospitality industry on new investments, Vassilis Fotopoulos, Associate Director, Hospitality Lead at Arbitragetells Business Daily.
The recovery of tourism “at the same time, the desire for new international players (big brands and private capital) to enter the Athens hotel market is increasing. and constantly gaining ground”he points out.
Despite the pandemic, uncertainty and war in Ukraine, the flow of hotel investments remains strong with many new projects aimed at the two hotspots of Athens, the city center and the Athens Riviera.
Arbitrage data shows that new hotels are already underway in Omonia, Syntagma and Kolonaki. Among them are larger units, with over 200 rooms, while most central Athens accommodations are small boutique hotels. As an indication, the 5-star One and Only Aesthesis hotel is intended for the south of the city, in Glyfada, while in 2024 the Hampton Hotel (formerly Mistral) should welcome the public in Kastela, Piraeus.
“The investment plan and tourism opportunities on the Athens Riviera, including the planned investment in Elliniko with the new large units expected in 2025, should strengthen the further development of tourism, commercial and investment interests”, concludes Fotopoulos.
Improved sentiment, interest rates and longer season
With the good results this year in terms of arrivals, sentiment in the industry has improved dramatically. But as the sector seeks to beat 2019 figures, interest rates are rising, making it more expensive to finance hotels since most of their loans are variable rate. Also higher cost of money will put a strain on the disposable income of Europeans, thus reducing the money for holidays next year. Experts point out that those who offer more affordable hosting services will be more recession-proof than those who cater to the higher end of the market.
In Greece, the next challenge for the industry is to extend the season, which seems to be happening – albeit slowly. A crucial role in this effort is played by promoting Athens as an urban destination and showcasing different aspects of the city, such as culture. Ad campaigns have been helpful, such as those of the GNTO “greekend: end your week like a greek”which started in February, as well as the recent video prepared by the Region of Attica for the promotion of cultural tourism in Attica, entitled: “Attica. Culture in a nutshell”.
There are indications that US airlines are preparing to expand their routes to Athens over the winter. Additionally, British tour operator Jet2 recently announced the launch of winter routes for the first time, with flights to Athens from Manchester and Birmingham airports.
“Just the Beginning”
Vangelis Vlachosmanaging director of the Athens Tourism Development and Promotion Corporation, points out in comments to Business Daily, that “For us this is only the beginning”. “It should be noted that Athens took 6th place in Europe and 8th in the world as a conference destination in the International Congress and Convention Association’s report rankings for 2021“, he says.
“During the pandemic, we have gained attention as a destination for visitors who intend to stay long, such as digital nomads. We expect this interest to increase as Athens brings together many of the qualities that ‘long-term visitors’ look for in a destination. » adds Vlachos.