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Posted on: February 25th, 2013 by AlYunaniya Staff No Comments

Greece: Israeli entrepreneurs to invest half a million euros in Crete

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photo: visitgreece.gr

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An Israeli business group intends to develop a tourism investment worth EUR 500 million on a 2.5-square kilometer plot on the island of Crete, Kathimerini writes.

Part of the plot is located next to the site of a new road junction that will be created to serve the new municipal airport. Another part, which is privately owned, currently operates as the only 18-hole golf course on Crete, local authorities told the paper.

As argued, “the group’s representative said that the investment would only go ahead if the Greek state speeds up its licensing procedures.”

In a related development, Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni, visited Israel earlier this month to meet government officials and also try to boost investment in the debt-crunched country.

Kefaloyianni met with her counterpart Stas Misezhnikov where the two discussed options for attracting Israeli business interest in Greece and tourists.

The meeting took place during the IMTM 2013 international travel fair in Israel, and led to the strengthening of cooperation between the two countries’ tourism authorities, it was reported.

Some 400,000 Israelis visited Greece last year, and a further growth in the number of tourists is expected this year, Greek Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni told Yedioth Ahronoth.

According to the minister, 2012 was a record year in tourism from Israel to Greece for several reasons.

Since 2010, when relations between Israel and Turkey deteriorated, Greece has been enjoying a boom in Israeli tourists.

According to data from the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry, the number of Israeli tourists visiting Turkey plunged by 90 percent in 2010, while the Greek Culture Ministry said the number of Israeli tourists visiting Greece in 2010 had risen to 250,000, from 100,000 in 2009.

The huge drop in Israeli tourism followed followed the May 31 encounter aboard the Turkish-owned Mavi Marmara in which nine pro-Palestinian activists when Israeli Navy commandos boarded the ship. The flagship led a six-vessel flotilla meant to breech Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.

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