Greece: An emerging destination for tourism investment, remote work (digital nomads) and relocation
Greece, a country with more than 16,000 kilometres of coastline, with approximately 6,000 larger and smaller islands and islets, and with a now established position in the global tourism market, presents excellent investment opportunities in this sector. The country is one of the most popular destinations for summer holidays, but it also offers attractive proposals for thematic tourism throughout the year. Also, lately, it is one of the top choices for those who want to work remotely in a beautiful environment but also for those who have retired and are looking for a new home in a country with a low cost of living and a beautiful lifestyle.
Despite the significant difficulties brought by the pandemic worldwide and in Greece, significant hotel funds from all over the world are investing in the country by buying and building hotels mainly of the most luxury categories of 4* and 5* stars. Tourism investments are evolving both in urban centres and in the islands.
The growth of Greek tourism has certainly been slowed down in the last two years due to Covid 19 but the same didn’t happen with international and domestic investments in the sector.
According to the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels, 81 new properties were opened in 2020, while a further increase was recorded in 2021. In absolute numbers, about 150 new hotels have been added over the two-year period. The difference was made by the two upper categories, where 5* units nationwide increased from 610 in 2019 to 651 in 2020 and units of 4,* increased from 2019's 1,664 to 1,708 in 2020. There was a decrease in 3-star hotels.
Attica's hotels also increased, from 675 in 2019 to 689 in 2020, and almost all additions were in the two upper 5 and 4-star categories, with the trend continuing into 2021. The city of Athens, despite the great blow it received due to the pandemic, continued to attract with undiminished intensity investments, especially for larger units or boutique hotels.
International investment groups such as Hotel Investment Partners (HIP), Heines, Henderson Park, HIG, Zetland Capital, etc. are bringing capital into the pandemic with the aim -mainly- of upgrading existing properties on Greek islands, foreseeing the prospects of the industry, while others such as the AGCs of "Asteras" Vouliagmenis are investing in brand new projects starting from scratch. Similarly, large international brands, such as Marriott, Accor, Hilton, Hyatt, Radisson, Melia, One & Only, or smaller, such as the Israeli Fattal andBrown, see the scope for a more branded tourist product in Greece and put their signature on hotels of the most popular destinations. Also, luxury names like Mandarin Oriental, Rosewood Hotels and Resorts, Edition Hotels, 1Hotels, Rocco Forte have long put Greece in their plans, even during the pandemic, to enter the market. The attraction of new investments and the continuous enhancement of the competitiveness of the tourism sector, is a key objective of development planning and strategy announced by the Ministry of Tourism.
"Nobody knows, for example, the ski resorts in Greece," he says, "nobody talks about the small villages and the smaller islands. This is a mistake of the government if it wants year-round tourism."
According to the Ministry, the new national tourism strategy is implemented along 4 main axes:
· Strengthening entrepreneurship and facilitating investment.
· The continuous enrichment of the Tourism Product with the development of Special & Alternative Forms of Tourism.
· Ensuring quality in tourism infrastructure and services.
· Investing in human resources by creating new and new types of jobs.
Greece's competitive advantages, such as its rich cultural heritage, natural beauty, security, low cost of living, hospitality spirit and geographical diversity, attract many people for tourism, work or relocation and enhance the image of Greece both as a world-class tourist destination and as a tourist market with excellent investment opportunities.
Also, the country does not lack infrastructure, since Greece currently occupies the 25th place in the world ranking of the World Economic Forum for the competitiveness of countries in tourism, among 140 economies, according to the Index of Competitiveness of Travel and Tourism for 2019. It is worth noting that also, Greece holds 13th place in Health and 18th in Air Transport Infrastructure and Tourism Services Infrastructure. Moreover, in Greece, there are more than 800,000 hotel beds, more than 500 conference facilities, more than 8,000 berths for yachts and direct flights from most European airports to many Greek destinations.
Furthermore, Greece has more than 800,000 hotel beds, more than 500 conference facilities, more than 8,000 berths for yachts and yachts, and direct air connections from major European airports to many Greek destinations. In 2022, many people in the world work remotely for many different services such as social media management, consulting, photography, website owners and web designers, translators, copywriters, graphic designers, customer support, trainers, financial support, e-commerce, writers, analysts, etc. Did you find your profession in them? Or did you just imagine that this lifestyle would suit you? Are you just curious to see what Digital Nomads are looking for? Then you are interested in what is written in this article! Considering that "where they live" or "where they are" when they work is of little importance to them, DN migrates for long distances or even travel a lot and do not stay permanently in one part of the world. Greece is already an attraction for Digital Nomads. Recognizing the importance of the issue in September 2021 passed relevant legislation for freelancers or employees, who work remotely using Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) with employers or clients outside Greece (digital nomads) for a period of up to twelve (12) months granting a residence permit.
Regarding the current situation and the prospects that appear in the field of relocation of people from different countries in Greece, we spoke with people who have extensive experience in this field. Mr Nasser Sami Amarin, the owner of the company "Wings Over Greece" which helps non-European citizens to obtain a residence permit in Greece
Mr Nasser, origins from Jordan and in addition to his professional experience in the field, is an example of someone who chose to relocate to Greece. He has lived in the country with his family for about 20 years and claims that this was a decision he never regretted. When asked why he chose Greece as a permanent place of work and residence, he answers "for its history and culture, people are friendly and want to make you happy, life is easy because it is not expensive compared to other European capitals and in general there is a nice feeling in the atmosphere. The same minute I recognized all this I wanted to live in Greece! And it turned out to be a very good choice even in the pandemic."
To the question "what made it more difficult for you in Greece?", He answers laughing: "The language! People are very good though and they speak to me in English, so they make it easy for me.
To the question "what do you think we are doing well in Greece?" answers: "The most important thing for a family is to be safe and Greece is a very safe country. Medical care is also important. Greece has one of the best I have encountered and I am not talking about private medical services, but about public health services. "Also the food is very good and easy to find everywhere and at all hours."
In the following questions, we cited Mr Nasser's professional experience as a man whose job is to help non-EU citizens settle in Greece. So we asked which are the places that prefer to stay people who relocate in Greece? We received a disarming answer: "Media focuses only on summer in Greece. They do not focus equally on Autumn or Winter. No one knows, for example, the ski resorts in Greece," he says, "no one talks about the small villages and the small islands. But they are just gorgeous!
Visitors to the country are looking for more new things such as Tinos, Pelion, Zagorochoria, Arachova. Places where one can enjoy nature and activities."
Especially about digital nomads and the reasons they would have to come to the country they say: "it is not surprising that digital nomads prefer Greece.They see the opportunity to be able to work from another environment. "There is internet and telephone everywhere so you can stay on the mountain, in the hinterland or on an island, wherever you want. I don't see any problem at all. In addition in all the villages, there are beautiful and cheap houses or rooms to rent with breakfast in houses. Life in Greece is cheaper than in other European countries." When you live in the countryside, distances are small. You don't have to deal with traffic lights and traffic on the streets. You finish your work and go swimming on the beach, so you can perfectly combine work with holidays."
There are countries such as China, Japan, Sweden, Finland, Germany, that have a much higher cost of living but if they come to stay in Greece, likely, they can even save. With its favourable climate, joyful lifestyle, authentic experiences and gastronomy, Greece emerge as an ideal destination for Digital Nomads that meets the conditions required, while attracting their interest and facilitating their search for useful information.
The country through the digital platform workfromgreece.gr addresses the international community of Digital Nomads. The platform provides useful and helpful information that answers their basic questions about living and staying in Greece, urging them to imagine their professional everyday life in Greece through inspirational travel content. Inviting them to come into direct contact with the Communities that have been created in various destinations in Greece. The site feeds them with testimonials from Digital Nomads who have experienced or are experiencing working from Greece. Enhancing the concept of community, through the exploitation of the potential of Social Media and the creation of dedicated digital channels with a presence on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Pursuing to become a hub, a point of reference for all those involved with this new trend, workfromgreece.gr includes, in addition to the communities and groups of digital nomads already operating in Greece, services that meet the demands of the public as well as businesses whose subject matter is consistent with their specialized needs.