Further marina privatisations anticipated to add another 1%

The Greek yachting and marinas sector directly and indirectly contribute 1.41% to the country’s GDP and the planned privatisation of other marinas will possibly add up to another 1%. These figures were presented recently by the Greek Marinas Association (GMA) at an event in Athens.

A GMA survey covering 2018 highlighted that marina and yachting activity resulted in 793,435 tourism arrivals and 43,626 jobs in tourism. The financial impact included a €1.23bn contribution to the Greek economy; €3.66bn of investment and €1.94bn related to regional development.

Looking to the future and with a number of marina privatisations planned through this year, the GMA anticipates to see a significant expansion of the sector. This, it estimates, will account for an additional €1.3bn contributed to the economy, an extra 479,000 new tourism arrivals each year, a 44,389 increase in the number of jobs, €1.8bn in new marina and yachting-related investments, and an additional €4.2bn spent on regional development.

In regards to further marina privatisations, TAIPED (the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund) plans future initiatives or is already active with them for the marinas at Alimos, Argostoli, Chios, Itea, Pylos, Rhodes, Thessaloniki and Zakynthos. Konstantinos Asvestis, the GMA Secretary-General, commented at the conference that “marinas are self-funded investments in infrastructures, without burdening the state budget.”

The marina privatisation programme features in the marine tourism expansion plans for Greece’s tourism growth strategy. Yiannis Plakiotakis, the Greek Shipping minister, tabled a comprehensive draft bill earlier this week which covered marine tourism, shipping, ports, island policy and safety at sea.

Key aspects of this bill addressed existing coastal shipping legislation and the upgrade plans for the port of Piraeus, Greece’s leading port. The port is operated by the Chinese state-owned Cosco shipping enterprise and a multi-million plan has been presented by the Chinese company, much of which has been approved. One element of the plan was to develop a new shipyard for which refitting superyachts was proposed to be a key part of its workload. That part of the plan still awaits approval.

Also this week the Greek Tourism minister, Harry Theoharis, made known that the Ministry’s strategic objective for the 2020 tourism season is to strive for a 10% growth in tourism revenue which in 2019 amounted to €18bn.

As part of its reform roadmap of achieving a wide-ranging set of goals through 2020-21, the Greek Tourism Ministry simplifying procedures for the licencing of tourist ports/marina concession deals and a focus on developing diving are two of the 134 priority actions included. The former is scheduled to be completed in 2021 and the latter this year.