Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Tourists Wary, but Investors Eye Greece

Wall Street Journal
July 18, 2012

Greece's top hoteliers are facing choppy waters, as concerns about the nation's future in the euro zone have added turbulence to a tourism industry responsible for 16% of the country's gross domestic product.

Meanwhile, some private-equity investors see value in the sector because prices are depressed and hotels are largely supported by revenue from foreigners.

Average daily rates in Athens hotels tumbled nearly 16% in the first five months of this year compared with the same period last year and were down 8.6% in Thessaloniki, the country's second-largest city and another major tourist destination, according to Smith Travel Research. Athens's revenue per available room was down 27.8% on year to $59.62 in the first five months.

Questions from guests about conditions on the ground have led to more last-minute bookings, which translates into uncertainty for hoteliers about how much revenue they can expect, and have left operators, developers and investors wondering how long the malaise will persist.


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