The shortages of skilled staff – and in particular butlers – due to lack of interest, training programs and investments that hinder the development of tourism in Greece and the attraction of tourists with thick wallets in our country highlights Bloomberg reports.
As the agency, the length of 70 km coastline of the Athenian Riviera, with blue waters, romantic sunsets and stunning views of the Saronic Gulf, which should be a magnet for the rich of the world “has only minimally luxury hotels, still and they find it hard to find the trained staff they need to satisfy the whims of wealthy visitors. It is not, therefore, that they avoid the region with deep pockets – a missed opportunity for a country that draws 20% of its GDP from the tourism industry. ”
Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens in Vouliagmeni.
“Issues” for Greek tourism the lack of specialized personnel and investments
According to Hara Kovousi,director of the School of Tourism Professions in Anavyssos, “there is a lack of training programs in Greece to educate people to work as a butler in luxury villas, to provide thalassotherapy services or to work on yachts, things that are demanded by wealthy tourists.” The agency notes that Greeks despise such jobs although travel and tourism provide revenue directly and indirectly to one third of the country’s population, some 3.8 million, although unemployment in Greece is the highest in the Eurozone. “The Greek society continues to regard the tourism professions as a second class,” says Mrs Kovousi, adding that there are only about 450 students at STENAN (Anavyssos Tourism Education School), which has been formed as a cruise ship,
Staff shortages and adequate investments prevent the tourism industry from taking full advantage of the natural advantages of the sun and sand in a country with about 6,000 islands scattered across the Aegean and the Ionian Sea. Addressing these issues is crucial, as Greece is struggling to emerge from a ten-year financial crisis that has shrunk its economy by a quarter and left 27% of its workforce at its lowest point, “said Bloomberg, adding that Greece is ranked 18th among the countries with the largest profits in spending foreign visitors in the last seven years, behind competing countries such as Spain (5th), Turkey (9th), Portugal (11th) and Italy (12th) , based on data from the World Travel and Tourism Organization (WTCC). “Greece’s investments in the tourism industry(3.6% last year) than its global rivals, bringing it to 120th place among 185 countries, according to the WTCC.
Investment of 5-6 billion euros is needed
As Stelios Koutsivis , CEO of Astir Palace Vouliagmeni, which operates the Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel in Athens – one of the 19 best hotels in the world, as Forbes points out – the Greek tourism industry will need the next 4- 5 years somewhere between 5 and 6 billion euros in investments.
He notes that major projects could lead to significant inflows of foreign investment and adds that increasing the number of tourists with thick wallets – currently 2% of all visitors – to 5% could double the country’s revenue by the tourism industry.
Bloomberg reminds that “Astir Palace Vouliagmeni has a half century history in the hospitality of luxury guests in Greece, such as former US President Jimmy Carter , Frank Sinatra and Aristotle Onassis . In 2016, it was acquired by Jermyn Street Real Estate Fund IV LP, which belongs to the state investment arms of Kuwait and Abu Dhabi, the Dogus group of Turkey and others. ”
“Greece must attract international luxury brands”
“What counts is quality, not quantity,” Miltos Kambourides , founder and CEO of Dolphin Capital Investors, a luxury resort maker, mostly in the Mediterranean, says that agency should attract international luxury brands “Since they are the incomparable direct and indirect advertising they make in a country.” The company has completed the construction of two luxury resorts in Greece, Amanzoe and Nikki Beach Resort & Spa in the Peloponnese, and this year it builds two more, One & Only Kea Island and Kilada Hills Golf Resort with an 18 hole golf course, with a total investment of about 750 million euros.
But the Dimitri Chandris , board member of the hotel group Chandris, which last year launched the Athens Marriott Hotel on the Athenian Riviera, agrees on the need to attract the Greece international luxury brands, which “are very loyal following among the richest of all tourists: the Americans. ” And as he says, “we have seen a big difference in the kind of customers we attract.”
The great works on the Athenian Riviera
According to Bloomberg, the development of major projects in the Athenian Riviera, such as the former airport in Elliniko, “is expected to reform the coastline and attract international hotel brands.The work at Hellinikon has been delayed since the area – more than twice the size of Central Park in New York – was sold to the Greek company Lamda Development in 2014. The construction is expected to start eventually when the government chooses a bidder to operate a casino in the area.
All these new investments will boost the demand for skilled staff. Rich travelers are demanding and often demand last minute requirements, such as bodyguards, chauffeurs, cameramen, butler, limos, luxury cars, helicopter and yacht services to explore the Greek islands, said Apostolos Geladaris , director of Royal Myconian Hotel & Thalasso Spa Center, one of the ten luxury Myconian Collection hotels on the island of Mykonos. And as he said: “Although the image acquired by the client for the hotel is determined by the concierge, the maid or the bartender, the butler is the direct link to know what the customer wants and to do so immediately with a practical approach” “.
Source – iefimerida.gr