A major five-star-plus project to be developed in the Eastern part of the island of Crete by travel and leisure giant Minoan Group, is awaiting an official announcement by Greece’s highest court in order to proceed, said the group’s chairman Christopher Egleton on occasion of the presentation of the company’s – listed on London’s Aim market – annual results.
The project site is the Cavo Sidero peninsula in North East Crete, in the prefecture of Lasithi and comprises more than 22,000 stremmata (about 5,500 acres). It has 28 kilometres of Mediterranean coastline, numerous secluded bays and inlets as well as an interior with rolling hills where herbs such as thyme and marjoram are part of the natural vegetation. It surrounds the famous Vai palm forest and beach, the only one in Europe and a major tourist lure.
Valued at some 267 million euros, the luxury holiday resort named ”Itanos Gaia” aims to become a landmark of sustainable tourism. According to Minoan Group, the investment, which includes five hotels with a capacity of 1,936 beds, an 18-hole golf course, a conference hall and wellness centre, is expected to create 1,200 permanent jobs and another 2,000 for local suppliers.
As if written for the project area, Eastern Crete has it all: Minoan palaces, venetian fortress and villas, the birthplace of Zeus and Patriarchate Monasteries. It has the only palm forest in Europe and a unique coastline. A rich folklore tradition is complemented by an agricultural history which developed the products that made the Cretan diet famous for its health benefits.
Egleton said that despite the economic uncertainty in Greece, hindering developments, the group is still keeping a positive outlook for the Itanos Gaia project, adding that its development will not be an easy task due to complex real estate transaction procedures. The company had initially applied for approval to build the holiday retreat in 1991 but had to overcome legal obstacles after residents and environmental organisations opposed the project.
Meanwhile, referring to Minoan Group’s preliminary results for the year ending 31 October 2016, Egleton said the Travel & Leisure section increased revenues despite the impact of Brexit to 7,317 million pounds against 6.816 million pounds in the same period a year ago. The Glasgow-based group, which opened in England and Northern Ireland for the first time, owns and operates a number of travel agencies.
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