22 August 2018

A new era for Tourism Development Co

25 June 08 | Prof. H. Coccosis
Prof. H. Coccosis



An interview to Yiannis Papadomarkakis

An interview to Yiannis Papadomarkakis

The logic of Tourism Development Co, is to develop through REIT's the assets of Greek National Tourism Organisation (GNTO), points out at RE+D the company's new CEO Prof. Harry Coccossis, who also defines the company as venture supplier. Mr Coccossis is a distinguished scholar with degrees in Urban Planning and Zoning, and at the short time he is being a head of the company has begun a series of actions that are expected to be profitable for the company (concession tenders), while at the same time creates new tourism products through pilot interventions in unique properties (Parnassos, Kaiafas, Chalkidiki).

How do you see Tourism Development Co.'s role today?
Tourism Development Co beyond its obvious role, that is property management, is an excellent tool of practicing tourism politics.

What does that mean exactly?
It means that it has enormous potential as besides its financial contribution to the country with the exploitation of properties, has the ability to step in and create tourism product that has been recognized as tourism policy by the Ministry of Tourism. We practically manage a great deal of properties, which vary from small ones (stands in archaeological sites) to beaches, beaches within urban space - Vuliagmenis Beach, marinas, Achillion in Corfu, Parnassos Ski Center, and a plethora of large properties that are ready to be utilized. The company can interfere by creating infrastructure - ski runs, conference centers -, ecotourism centers and contribute to the development of the country's tourist product. This is one side. The other side is that the company can contribute to the local end regional development. Because it can intervene in areas where the conditions for private business are not ripe, or in fields that cannot attract investments. Therefore, to reinforce for example health tourism in Ipati may still not be ripe as far as business is concerned, but it serves the local community and age groups that use the hot springs and we cannot leave them at the mercy of the spa market which addresses different wallets.

In the past there was a record of the properties. New there is a new one underway. Do we have a picture of the portfolio's size?
We are in the phase where the new record is being completed. Back then it was at ­840 mln. Its value today reaches ­1.2 bln. The record is being completed and is useful because it will help us follow the international accountancy standards.

Which are the main properties of the portfolio and how are you planning to utilize them?
There are 29 XENIA hotels, Corfu's Casino and the participation in Parnes' Casino, 6 marinas, many beaches, seven hot springs, eight campings, Achillion, the conference center at the old airport, Dyros' Cave, Saint Dimitris Loumpardiaris, Lycabetus and others. The company owns lots of properties in excellent locations, its just that most of them are abandoned.

But a company with so many properties and income from a casino cannot have adverse balance.
It does not.
The last two years...
The company needs some time so as to make a systematic record of its assets and an effort is needed for their utilization, for the attraction of investors. We have chosen to have the properties scattered around Greece and not only where the markets are more ready in a commercial way.

How is this materialized and from where do you see profits coming?
There are two Xenia hotels in the final stage of approval, two more that in the second stage, and there is also Afantos and Anavissos golf course, Corfu's casino, as well as, the marina of Peace and Friendship Stadium.

Can we speak of a new page for the company?
The company is in a transitional stage. In that sense, we can say that. We limit the portfolio to "business" activities so as to focus in the management of some important assets and pilot interventions that will contribute to tourism's development.

You have considerably contributed to the formation of the new Zoning on tourism. Why do you believe in this new model of tourism development?
The new Zoning sets some rules and puts limits so some priorities, so as the investor will not be vulnerable to the State Council. The second important aspect has to do with the so-called tourist house. It is a product with great demand in our country, as we have great advantages (stable economy, good weather, variety of locations and culture, etc) so as a product should also contribute to the expansion of tourist season.

Which areas are dynamic?
Beyond the obvious ones (Crete, Rhodes and Dodekanisa) there is West Peloponissos and Thrace, now that there is access from the north and from Central Europe. Finally, Magnisia and Larissa, which are former agricultural areas and one can find large sites for development.


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