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2016 November December Marina World

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MARKET UPDATE: GREECE important tourist infrastructure will create new and great potential for tourism development. Examples include Cosco’s objective to turn the port of Piraeus into a cruise home port in the Mediterranean and the privatisation of key marine tourism infrastructure. ES: Describe the privatisation model for HRADF’s tourist ports portfolio and how you associate it with Greece’s significant prospects for becoming an international centre of marine tourism. SP: The first goal is the privatisation of the marina in Alimos, Athens. We have already hired advisors and the tender processes will be initiated towards the end of this year. The second goal is to announce, in collaboration with the Port Authorities of Corfu and Igoumenitsa, tenders for the construction and management of important marinas in the said areas. I believe that for that region as well, important steps will be made by the end of this year. Pylos Marina in Messinia will follow. The third goal is related to a significant number of marinas in the North Aegean region: the tender for the concession of the marina in Kalamaria, in the wider area of Thessaloniki, will be launched immediately, while we are in consultation with the Port Authorities of Kavala and Alexandroupolis as well as with the respective municipalities regarding the construction of big marinas in the two cities. Finally, we are collaborating with the municipality of Mykonos and soon we will have a clear proposal/perspective for the ports and marinas in the island. In my view, this programme can result in an initial but considerable improvement of the general picture and pave the way for other more ambitious projects/ plans. I have to say that the years of 2016 and 2017 will be very crucial for sea tourism since the foundations for a major upgrade of marine tourism infrastructure will be laid and there will be extensive planning for the use of marinas, tourist ports and the old parts of the country’s major ports. ES: What is the status of ‘The Hellinikon’ project in the Athenian Riviera - one of the most successful of HRADF’s recent achievements? SP: Following the signature of the Memorandum of Understanding for ‘The Hellinikon’ project, the amended agreement was ratified by Parliament in September. After the ratification, the procedures related to the licensing 1. Piraeus 2. Thessaloniki 3. Alimos, Athens 4. Corfu 5. Igoumenitsa 6. Pylos Marina, Messinia 7. Kalamaria, 8. Thessaloniki 9. Kavala, 10. Alexandroupolis 11. Mykonos, 12. Athenian Riviera of the project will be initiated. The objective is for the project to be initiated in 2017. It will be the largest urban renewal project to be implemented throughout Europe in coming years and it will decisively contribute to the development of the Greek economy as well as to the emergence of Athens as an international tourist destination. ES: The investment approval time is a decisive factor for attracting investment interest. Does HRADF intend to cooperate with the respective authorities in an effort to reduce investment approval time for tourist port projects? Are there any plans for fast track investments, especially in the form of tourist port networks? SP: The institutional framework for fast track licensing of investment strategies exists and it will be utilised. But the collapse of licensing times for investment projects remains a main challenge. I am aware that the Ministry of Economy is working intensively in this direction and there will soon be results. ES: Given your love of the sea and as a sailor, please share with us your vision for the development and support of Greece’s nautical athletics associations (yachting clubs) as a driving force for the development of our country’s nautical tradition and as a key component for marine tourism and for successful marina operation. SP: The development of watersports cannot be treated as a typical objective for Greece when compared to other objectives. The sea and seamanship are the soul of Greece. They are the womb of Greek culture and will always be the way for Greeks and Greece to develop and grow. Seeing things this way, I believe that in the context of any planning related to the development of watersports, adequate space must always be provided for the development of watersports as well as for the maritime education of all Greeks, if possible, from an even earlier age. ES: Please share with us your message to the global marina industry for Greece’s potential. SP: I profoundly believe that Greece is currently faced with a great opportunity to become a very important country in the field of sea transport as well as in the maritime industry. A plan and alliances are required but, above all, what is required is the utilisation of the country’s comparative advantages, the most important being the human resources available. 44 - November/December 2016

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