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Major State Investment Program For Tourism

Athens could soon acquire a theme park, an aquarium, a marine research park and more marinas as part of a major two-year investment project by the Hellenic Tourism Organization‘s new real estate subsidiary, Development Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said last month.

The 150-billion drachma project will be carried out in 2000-2001 and is expected to create 6,500 new jobs. The overall plan entails five projects that include marines, with the upgrading of marinas in Attica and Thessaloniki to meet European standards; beach and coastal improvements, with the eradication of the current free-for-all of illegal constructions on the beachfronts; a theme park at Anavyssos east of Athens, and an aquarium with Mediterranean fauna and a marine research center and a water amusement park; improvements of spas at Edipsos in Evia, Kaiafa in the Peloponnese and Nigrita in northern Greece; and the development of tourism facilities in regions such as Crete, Rhodes, Halkidiki and Thrace, including improvements in camping grounds.

No details were provided on what the theme park would look like nor where the aquarium, marine research center and amusement park would be built. Mr. Christodoulakis, whose portfolio includes tourism, said that the necessary funds will be drawn from capital markets with the listing of the Hellenic Tourism Properties (ETA) company on the Athens bourse and from investors.

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