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Luxury hotels in Greece are a "magnet" for foreign investment

According to a new Savills report on commercial and residential real estate, 2024 is expected to be a better year for real estate in Europe and the Middle East, although there will be significant variations by region.

Investment in southern European hotels is singled out by consultancy Savills as one of the top picks for 2024, as countries such as Greece attract more and more luxury travellers, creating new investment opportunities.

According to a new report from the firm assessing the outlook for both commercial and residential property, 2024 is expected to be a better year for real estate in Europe and the Middle East, although there will be significant variations by region.

Eri Mitsostergiou, World Research Director at Savills, who co-authored the report, explained in a statement to Business Daily that the trend for unique and experiential stays is shaping the market, favouring hotels that offer distinctive experiences such as themed accommodation, cultural experiences and eco-friendly initiatives.

Greece, continues Mitsostergiou, is attracting more and more luxury travellers who are looking for high-quality accommodation. There is also a growing demand for smaller, boutique hotels that provide more authentic and personalised experiences.

"A growing area of investment opportunity will be sustainable tourism, which is becoming increasingly important to visitors seeking environmentally friendly and socially responsible hotels. Investors can attract this clientele by developing and operating sustainable hotels that use renewable energy, reduce their environmental footprint and support local communities," she underlines.

Despite the many investments that have been made in Greece in recent years, the sector is still dynamic due to the country's strong position on the international tourism map. With the start of the new year, a number of new hotel investments have been approved from Milos and Skiathos to Zakynthos and Rethymno.

However, where the market's interest is focused at the moment is that Goldmans Sachs is said to be considering the acquisition of a large hotel complex on the Athenian Riviera.

It is recalled that with a portfolio of 11 hotels in Greece, the US investment house is leaving a strong footprint in the Greek tourism market as it expands its portfolio in the wider Mediterranean.

The risk

Despite the strong prospects, investors also face challenges. As is the case in many European countries, overtourism is a major new threat, while many summer travellers are avoiding the heatwaves, changing their holiday dates and therefore the flow of visitors to the country.

This may lead to an extension of the tourist season, making spring and autumn more popular periods when temperatures are at lower levels.

"The gradual flattening of the seasonality curve can benefit destinations that suffer from high fluctuations in visitor numbers, reducing pressure on infrastructure and workforce - ultimately creating more sustainable, stable and resilient tourist destinations," Mitsostergiou underlines.

"For Greece, this could translate into a longer tourist season with new locations emerging as alternative destinations that can offer alternative experiences such as nature tourism, agrotourism, cultural tourism and more," she says.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, hyper-tourism and the need for green solutions offer new opportunities. ESG issues are becoming more important, with sustainability practices becoming even more critical, offering opportunities for cost reduction and brand enhancement, adds Mitsostergiou.

Housing in focus

Internationally, however, all eyes are on the housing market. That is where the greatest optimism is found for 2024 where demand far outstrips supply, while logistics is also expected to perform well this year due to strong fundamentals, according to the report.

The outlook in offices, is mixed, especially in assets that are not prime assets. At the same time, investors are urged to get "creative" in their choices.

"Those looking for more opportunistic investments can consider properties that offer growth and change of use (repurposing) opportunities. This may include converting offices into accommodation and hospitality facilities or redeveloping old shopping centres," the research highlights.

"Strong demand and limited supply support the significant investment potential of smaller sectors with less liquidity such as data centres, life sciences and education," the survey concludes.

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