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Louis Group goes shopping in Greece

The Cypriot-based Louis<.> Group is securing a firm foothold in Greece through buyouts…

The Cypriot-based Louis<.> Group is securing a firm foothold in Greece through buyouts of existing hotels and construction of new units.

The company has already invested 30 billion drachmas in the purchase of 11 five- and four-star hotels on Crete, Corfu, Zakynthos and Mykonos.

Louis Cruise Lines general manager Stelios Kiliaris was quoted by the Financial Times as saying that Cyprus is a mature tourism market while that of Greece is developing. He reportedly stated there was still room for new hotels in Greece, while the firm`s investment mainly concerns acquisitions of existing establishments. He noted Cyprus has proven a very small market for Louis Tours, which is one of the largest travel groups in the eastern Mediterranean and a leader in the Greek tourism market following its acquisition of a majority stake in Royal Olympic Cruises (ROC).

In Cyprus, which hosts 2.5 million visitors annually, the group operates a fleet of 14 cruiseships and owns 13 four- and five-star hotels. It employs 7,000 and its turnover for 2000 is expected to surpass $400 million.

The Louis Group believes that the launch of the Olympic Voyager cruiseship in the Mediterranean will enable ROC to compete on a level playing field with US firms operating in the eastern Mediterranean in summer, and in the Caribbean in winter.

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