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New Long-term Leasing for Public Tourism Properties

Three major long-term leasing projects are in the works by the Tourism Development Company (ETA), for the public properties that include the Corfu casino, the plots housing a golf course at Afandou on Rodos, and another at Epanomi, near Thessaloniki, for the creation of a new course.

The development company’s head officer, Constantinos Zacharopoulos, announced that he has submitted these plans and expects to receive approval soon from the ministerial privatization committee.

The company, which handles Hellenic Tourism Organization’s properties, says emphasis is being placed on attracting investments related to golf as the government intends to pull Greece from the bottom of the list of quality round-the-year tourism destinations.

The Corfu casino is housed in a hotel, to which ETA pays a rent of 350,000 euros per year. The casino belongs to an ETA subsidiary, Hellenic Casino Corfu, although the latter has not yet paid the 4.4 million euros needed to formally secure the rights.

According to a study, the casino is to move to the Achillion mansion, which belongs to the Hellenic Tourism Organization, with the cost to run to 8 million euros.

The second tender is for the use of the 1.83-square-kilometer plot where the Afandou golf course is, following two failed tenders and one that was canceled. The successful applicant is obligated to upgrade and modernize of the 18-hole course and to develop hotel infrastructure to support the course.

Other possible uses could include a new nine-hole course, a spa and thalassotherapy center, development of tourism accommodation and commercial stores, utilization of the beach and the formation of sports and other open-air facilities.

A new company is to be created to which the investor will participate with a 51 to 65 percent share. After the company is dissolved (after 60 to 99 years), the shares will be returned to ETA at a symbolic price.

Finally, the tender regarding the 0.6-sq.km. plot set out for a golf course in Epanomi, which began in 1999 but ran into problems, seems to have reached a conclusion.

Although an agreement was signed in 1999 between the Hellenic Tourism Organization and the Epanomi Golf company, the tender process has not yet been completed.

A series of state-owned Xenia hotels are also set for long-term lease. ETA, however, says it insists on the expansion of the properties but at the same time the preservation of the original buildings’ architecture.

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