Greece needs to reposition its tourism product and improve connectivity in order to emerge stronger from the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, according to tourism experts.
Speaking during the recent online 22nd Annual Capital Link – Invest in Greece Forum, Alejandro Hernández-Puértola, founding partner and CEO of hospitality investment group HIP, said that Greece offers many opportunities for investment in the hospitality segment.
“Greece is a very important tourism market in southern Europe, offering many opportunities to buy and transform hotels, bring new technologies and brands, and reposition hotels,” Hernández-Puértola said.
“The country is doing a very good job… Greece invests on reposititioning its hotels in order to increase the value of its existing infrastructure. I believe that it is more important to reposition a property than build more hotels,” he added.
Puértola also spoke about the significance of connectivity for Greece and its source tourism markets. “Without connectivity there is no business activity. Today, we see more investments and better airports in Greece, but we also need to bring in good airlines and distributors,” he underlined.
HIP was acquired by Blackstone real estate funds in 2017. Through follow-on acquisitions, HIP’s portfolio has grown to 60 hotels comprising 17,600 keys and is today the third largest investor in European hotels, after Pandox and Covivio.
Adding value to Greece’s existing tourism infrastructure is a strategy that has also been embraced by Hines Greece.
Considered one of the largest real estate organizations with offices in 25 countries, Hines in 2017 aquired the Ledra Hotel in Athens and together with Henderson Partners and Hyatt in 2018 opened the Hyatt Grand Athens hotel.
During the last year, the group also acquired five hotels on Crete and a property in Voula with the aim to develop a residential complex.
“We wish to add value to these assets. This is our strategy which we applied on the Ledra investment when we repositioned it as Grand Hyatt,” said Paul Gomopoulos, senior managing director of Hines Greece during the Capital Link Forum.
Gomopoulos also said that Greece should grow further to become an institutional market.
“Becoming an institutional market would be a massive step forward. The amount of capital that Greece will attract once it’s on the radar, will be a game changer,” he said.
The 22nd Annual Capital Link – Invest in Greece Digital Forum took place during December 14 – 15.