« »

Friday, June 21, 2013

What does the privatization of Greece mean for travelers?

Greek fiscal restructuring has contributed to industry privatization
Privatization opens business opportunities to foreign investors
By Noc/Travel Advantage Network

The latest gold rush: Everyone with investment money is looking to gain from the economic downturn that is placing a burden on countries along the European perimeter including Greece. Russia wants to break into the energy market while China wants to buy means of transportation. 

Sadly Greece has been hit most severely and following the bail out from the European Union the country has started its privatization campaign. This means that foreign countries looking to break ground within the European block can begin bidding on what the development minister claims is only a means of showing the international community that the country remains business friendly.

China is very interested. For them Greece is the gateway for trade flow and investment. China wants to take over Athens International Airport while Russia wants the national gas corporation. The government is viewing this as a time for historic change. It is a time when they will sell to the highest bidder in a transparent process meant to ease the sixth year of recession for Greece.

What’s for sale?

Up for bidding include regional airports as well as sports facilities and beaches. Thermal baths and some state-owned hotels are also going to be up for grabs. This means that locals who may have held jobs (or are still clinging to theirs) may not be there for much longer. Tourists who visit the once renowned area are sure to face a changing Greek skyline. While the claim is for increased efficiency in conjunction with eliminating state-wide corruption it does not seem like letting China—a country currently undergoing massive reforms to weed out government corruption—will improve the ethical situation much.

All is not golden

By agreeing to sell off such precious historical items it stands to reason that the atmosphere in Greece will not become a positive one any time soon. As the ultimate act of humiliation this beautiful country landscape may increase prices for tourists very soon due to increased development on behalf of buying countries but turning Greece into a transit hub for foreigners will only result in higher fees and fewer original residents. The government is pillaging the Greek national wealth. They are changing the hands of ownership which the opposition does not think will improve unemployment rates. In fact with increased foreign ownership, competition in the workforce will come as foreign workers who will work for less than citizens, joins the market.

For the rest of us

Don’t feel like buying and running an airport or a seaport but love traveling to Greece?  There’s something for you as well!  The Greek parliament made it possible for those buying property of at least €250,000 to gain a five-year residence permit.  This offer is for non-EU citizens and the path to citizenship afterwards is not clear at this time.

Savvy investors are excited for this opportunity and Greece will have to eat a piece of humble pie in order to get out of financial woes.  How the infusion of foreign ownership and control over Greek businesses will change Greece is still to be seen.

About the author: Noc enjoys writing about travel and technology including the use of Travel Advantage Network for lodging options.