Hyatt Hotels Corp will open its first Grand Hyatt hotel in Greece and its third in Europe against the backdrop of tourism growth. The five-star luxury hotel with 310 rooms is expected to open in the third quarter and will be located in the former Ledra Marriott Hotel. Previously, Ledra, which has astonishing views of the Acropolis, sheltered Hollywood stars and politicians, but was forced to close in 2016 because of the economic crisis after nearly 30 years of presence in the Greek capital.
The project is “a significant cornerstone in Southeastern Europe and a significant growth market for Hyatt”, said Vice President Acquisitions & Development Russia & CIS and Central & Eastern Europe Hyatt Hotels Corporation, Takuya Aoyama.
The tourism, along with shipping, is the main industry in Greece, stimulating the hesitant recovery of the economy after the years of decline pushed unemployment to record highs.
The country, with a population of about 11 million, drew over 27 million tourists in 2017, up from 24.8 million in 2016. In March, the foreign visitors increased by 30.3% on an annual basis, according to the latest data from the Greek Confederation of Tourism (SETE).
In addition, it provided 25% of the jobs in 2017, according to data from the World Tourism and Travel Council (WTTC), which predicts that their number will grow by 5.6% this year.
Although the islands remain the main destinations, visitors who avoided Athens in the midst of the crisis when the streets were flooded by protesters returned to the Greek capital.
The Hyatt hotel in Athens will be the second hotel chain in Greece along with the Hyatt Regency in Thessaloniki, which opened its doors in 1999’s second largest city in Greece. The company said it had signed a franchise agreement with Henderson Park’s real estate investment company and global Hines for its latest project.