24 October 2005

The Greek golf holiday market

Greece can immediately expect 3.5 billion euros in domestic and foreign investment in the creation of at least 17 golf courses, if all projects proceed as the government hopes.

"This country will be the most important golf tourism market in the Mediterranean in the next 10 years," says Johann Peter Bachmann, CEO of Swiss Golf Invest AG, one of the foreign companies investing billions of euros in Greece, particularly in popular tourism destinations.

This development becomes more important when one considers that a modern golf course has a major impact on a region's property market. Courses usually come with hotels, housing units, conference centers and marinas, therefore becoming complete tourism resorts, creating jobs and lifting the price of properties in those areas.

At the same time golf is a crucial element toward the viability of those investments, as this is a basic condition for a hotel unit to enter the winter plans of major tour operators. This way tourism is secured at the highest quality level for the winter months, as well, which is somewhat unprecedented in Greek tourism. After all the best seasons for golf are spring and autumn.

The impact of those investments is important for the property market, especially as far as holiday housing is concerned, and where Greece has shown a significant delay in attracting foreign buyers. Despite great interest expressed year after year by visitors from abroad in the holiday housing market, few purchases are eventually made, either owing to the lack of appropriate homes or due to bureaucracy issues: To date foreign nationals cannot receive a loan from a Greek bank unless a Greek citizen guarantees it for them.

The investment plans for the golf courses show that they will come with the development of at least 2,000 holiday houses of all kinds (maisonettes, villas, bungalows and apartments).

The main reason golf and its accompanying installations are very profitable is their audience, as golfers have great purchase potential. Furthermore, 40% of them internationally make at least three trips a year to try out new courses. The average duration of each trip is one week. The mean daily expenditure per player is calculated at 370 euros, while 10 percent will buy a house close to a course, at a starting price of 120,000 euros.

More here.

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