Dynamic Economic Opportunities Under the Mediterranean Sun
The current economic crisis has pushed Greece to the forefront of world news, often in an unfavorable light that tends to obscure the country’s impressive recent achievements and its promising future.
Greece joined the European Community in 1981 and now is a member of the European Union’s 17-member eurozone. The country suffered serious economic stagnation in the 1980s, but began to experience remarkable economic growth in the 1990s, fuelled by heavy investment, entrepreneurship, trade, and EU aid. By the early 21st century, the Greeks have achieved a stable and prosperous nation, with a high standard of living. An influx of immigrants began in the late 1980s, transforming Greece, once an immigrant-sender, into an immigrant-receiving country.
Despite the current crisis, Greece remains an attractive investment location offering a wide array of opportunities that take advantage of the country’s location and unique competitive advantages. Greece is a natural gateway to more than 140 million consumers in Southeast Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean, a region with a GDP of almost 1 trillion euro. Being the hub of diverse emerging markets, Greece provides access to populations with a strong demand for consumer goods, infrastructure modernization, technology and innovation networks, energy, tourism development, and light manufacturing.
In the same time, Greek companies and banks have a strong foothold in the markets of neighbouring states. Investors are discovering that Greece has a combination of characteristics that are unequalled in Europe. Greece is a leading global tourism destination, an emerging regional energy hub, and possesses highly educated and multilingual human capital.
Tourism – Security
The country’s tourism industry – which took off in the 1960s has flourished since, attracting more than 17.5 million people each year, contributing 15% to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.
Greece is one of the top tourist destinations in the world not only due to its natural beauty but to the general atmosphere of security and hospitality. Lonely Planet placed Greece among its top 10 destinations for 2010 and Greece ranks second in England’s 2008 Telegraph Travel Awards in their Best European Country ranking.
Real Estate, traditionally a pillar of the Greek economy, today offers excellent investment opportunities, as prices continue to plunge. A crucial factor keeping the property market flowing in Greece is the tourist industry and the demand for holiday homes. Property near and around the coastal areas are usually only rented out on a short term basis to tourists and yields during the peak season of June to September can rise from 5%- 30%.
At the Crossroads of East and West
A country synonymous with the foundations of modern civilization, Greece throughout history has held a dominant position in the Aegean Sea through its strategic location, a convergence point between East and West.
Located near the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Greece forms the southern extremity of the Balkan peninsula in south-east Europe. Its territory includes more than 2.000 islands in the Aegean and Ionian seas, of which only around 165 are inhabited. Mount Olympus is the highest point in the country.
Greece is one of the cradles of European civilization, whose ancient scholars made great advances in philosophy, medicine, mathematics and astronomy. Their city-states were pioneers in developing democratic forms of government. The historical and cultural heritage of Greece continues to resonate throughout the modern world – in literature, art, philosophy and politics.
FACTS IN BRIEF
Area: 131.990 sq. km
Population 10,815,197 (census 2011)
Border countries: Albania (282 km), Bulgaria (494 km), Turkey (206 km), FYROM (246 km).
Climate: temperate, mild, very long periods of sunshine. Greece holds over 300 days of sun a year averaging out at eight and a half hours a day with a short mild winter season.
Time Zone: GMT +2
Official Language: Greek
Government Type: Parliamentary democracy
Legislative Branch: Unicameral Parliament– 300 seats
Chief of State: President
Head of Government: Prime Minister
Membership in important international organizations: European Union, NATO, EBRD, EIB, IBRD, IMF, IMO, Interpol, OECD, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, WHO, WTO, CERN