Hospitality helped boost Greek economy during downturn

Dolce Attica Riviera
The Dolce Attica Riviera opened last year as Wyndham's first Dolce hotel in Greece. Photo credit: Wyndham Hotels & Resorts.

While Greece struggled during the global financial crisis, the country's hotel sector was helping to keep its economy afloat, according to a new financial report.

Data from the Bank of Greece's Interim Report on Monetary Policy 2018 indicated the gross value added by the country's hotel sector was 2.4 percent of the economy’s total GVA in 2017, up from 1.4 percent in 2010.

Overall, the bank estimated the contribution of tourism-related sectors to the GVA increased from 11.3 percent in 2010 to 12.6 percent in 2017. At the same time, the report underlined that the positive course of Greek tourism in 2017 continued during the January-September 2018 period, with data indicating a new high in arrivals and revenue for 2018.

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Greek tourism is mentioned throughout the central bank’s interim report, with a particular focus on the industry’s contribution to the recovery of the property market. The worldwide interest in Greece's real estate sector has continued steadily through 2018, particularly for hotels. 

“International hotel chains and tour operators have further strengthened their presence in the Greek market,” the report said. “During the first nine months of 2018, inbound tourist arrivals and travel receipts (excluding cruise receipts) increased by 10.3 percent and 8.4 percent, respectively, while expectations of tourism enterprises remain positive.” 

Greek Spending

However, hotels in Greece aren't depending exclusively on international visitors. According to a study from Eurostat, the official statistical authority of the European Union, an average of 15.4 percent of Greek household income is spent in the country's restaurants and hotels.

These figures may go a long way toward explaining the value of hotels to Greece's economy. A decade ago, Greek citizens were spending an average of 13.7 percent of their income at hotels and restaurants, so after 10 years of "extremely harsh economic and financial circumstances," as the news organization Greek Reporter called it, Greeks did not reduce their recreation expenditures but rather spent even more than they had before.

One of the top-performing markets in Europe this past September was Athens, where profit per room increased 8.2 percent year-over-year to €136.46, driven primarily by the commercial segment.

“Hoteliers in Athens have undoubtedly been through a rough time over the last decade due to the challenges in the Greek economy and only exited their most recent recessionary period in mid-2017,” said Michael Grove, director of intelligence and customer solutions, EMEA, at data tracker HotStats, late last year. “However, the rate recorded in the corporate segment has increased by more than €30 over the last 18 months, suggesting that the market is back on an upward trend.” 

Global Investment

International hotel companies have been targeting Greece for some time, attracted by the region's value. In fewer than two years, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts’ portfolio has expanded to include seven hotels and more than 1,300 rooms in the country. Last year, the company brought two firsts to this market, opening Dolce Attica Riviera, the first Dolce Hotels and Resorts by Wyndham hotel in Greece, and Wyndham Athens Residence, the first mixed-use hospitality development for the Greek market. An additional hotel in Crete, Wyndham’s first on a Greek island, is expected to open this summer.

In late November, the joint-venture of Shaner Italia, S.R.L. (a division of U.S.-based The Shaner Hotel Group focused on operating hotels in the Mediterranean) and Greece-based CS Hospitality announced plans to operate both the newly constructed Academia Hotel in Athens, part of Marriott's Autograph Collection, and the Moxy Hotel in Patras. Both hotels are on schedule to open by mid-2019.