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MR&H Forum 2019: Over 400 Experts Gather in Athens to Discuss Tourism in the Med

Photo © Simon Callaghan Photography

The prospects and challenges of tourism in the Mediterranean region were discussed during the 5th Mediterranean Resort & Hotel Real Estate Forum (MR&H) 2019 that was recently held in Athens.

Organized by Questex Hospitality Group, the forum hosted over 400 delegates including investors, developers, owners, tourism ministers and key market stakeholders, and focused on current distribution strategies – particularly prevalent in a post Thomas Cook world, sustainable tourism development, analysis of the macro geo-political and economic environment, the impact of brands and the inclusion of branded residences in resort developments and investment strategies for hotel and resort real estate projects across the Mediterranean.

Photo © Simon Callaghan Photography

Investments, sustainable practices key for tourism growth

Although there were variances in regional markets, the overriding sentiment resonating throughout the event was one of optimism for the industry, confidence that the drivers for travel remain, and a sincere understanding that sustainable practices are fundamental to the future of the sector.

The recent collapse of Thomas Cook was a common conversation. “Every industry has its Nokia moment and the collapse of Thomas Cook was the hospitality industry’s Nokia moment; a company that didn’t react fast enough to a changing environment,” said Alexander Schneider, President at Nikki Beach Hotels Resorts.

Photo © Simon Callaghan Photography

Observing trends in geo-politics and the economy and the likely impact on the hospitality industry, economist Thanos Papasavvas said that hotel yields will decline further as the search for yield and ample liquidity continues to squeeze the market.

Meanwhile, Natalie Weisz from STR drilled down into the regions and highlighted the significant opportunity in Greece for the brands: “Greece has the highest percentage of independent hotels – only 18 percent of hotels in Greece are branded – and against the rest of the world, Greece has the second highest RevPar for branded hotels (after Israel),” she said.

Photo © Simon Callaghan Photography

The forum also announced the winners of the MR&H Top Resort Awards, which this year honored  the Wyndham Grand, Crete Mirabello Bay with the “Top Resort Award in Operation” and Ikos Andalusia with the “Top Resort Award in Development”.

GTP Headlines was a media partner of the event.

Next year’s MR&H Forum will be held at the Tivoli Marina Vilamoura in Portugal, on October 19-21, 2020.

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