Fosun International is joining hands with a consortium from Abu Dhabi to invest US$7.9 billion in developing a resort on a site in a southwest suburb of Athens that measures three times the size of Monaco.
This seaside resort project in Hellenikon will encompass serviced apartments, hotels, shopping malls and a sports park. It will become the biggest seaside resort of Europe when completed and is expected to draw a million visitors every year.
Work will begin within the next six months, after site preparation works on preserving the forests and monuments on site are completed. The site is located on the former location of the Athens international airport and part of the old stadium of the 2004 Olympics in Athens. It was classified an urban park in the past 10 years, but has been largely left idling.
The Greek government has been selling national assets on conditions to support its flagging economy following reports in 2010 of the country unable to repay national debts to the tune of 300 billion euros. Greece’s largest real estate development Lamda joined with Fosun to win the development rights of the Hellenikon site in 2014.
Various coastal cities of Greece have been turned into make-shift tent cities for refugees fleeing neighboring war-torn regions in the past two years, and the former international airport in Hellenikon has also been covered with refugee tents. The Greek government is putting hopes on wooing tourists, especially those from China, to revive the country’s economy.
Greece drew 28.1 million visitors last year, an increase of 7.6%. and tourism contributed 25% to its GDP. Greek banks estimated that tourism receipts totalled US$14.5 billion last year. About 150,000 of the visitor arrivals were from China, and the Chinese government projects that some 1.5 million visitors will head to the Greek islands in the medium term.
Fosun is considering making use of its subsidiary Club Med to acquire more Greek hotels and resorts, or build new properties in order to cash in on the trends of visiting Greece.