The Piraeus Port Authority S.A. (OLP) is planning a sweeping makeover of Greece’s largest port, beginning in 2018, in a bid to attract cruise ship companies and persuade them to make it a home port.
For starters, a four or five-star hotel is expected to be constructed at Gate E2 of the port.
Secondly, a commercial shopping centre will be constructed to include shops, restaurant, and a cultural centre.
At the same, the process of extending new piers at the southern end of the port will begin, in order to eventually service four next-generation cruise ships.
The full funding of the extensions remains to be determined, but most of the financing will be from EU contributions.
OLP officials have participated in international trade fairs and conferences abroad, where prospective investors have shown an interest in the hotel project.
It has not been decided yet whether the new owner will undertake the construction and management of the hotel, later paying some form of rent to OLP, or whether some other scheme will be chosen.
Strong interest in the new shops is expected from Greek entrepreneurs.
The aim is for cruise ship tourists who have already visited the Acropolis and other archaeological sites to debark from the ship, whereas most currently stay on board, and to become acquainted with the port’s commercial, recreational and cultural offerings.
In this, OLP will cooperate with the Municipality of Piraeus, which is mulling its own plans for projects that can attract tourists.
A key commercial objective is to attract tourists from China, which already has a major stake in the port and is a huge potential market. That will be facilitated by existing direct flights to Athens on Air China, which were launched in August, 2018.