Mediterranean a refreshed target for developers

Published on: "Hotel Management"

Miltos Kambourides, the founder and managing partner of Dolphin Capital Investors, will participate in the “Getting Deals Done in the Mediterranean: Hear Directly from the Dealmakers” panel during the Mediterranean Resort & Hotel Real Estate Forum, Oct. 17-19 in Athens,

The session will focus on resort investment in the Mediterranean and how investors are leveraging opportunities while mitigating risks. The panelists will discuss where the deals are, who the stakeholders are, how investors can get past entry barriers and what the best opportunities are for investment in the region.

Kambourides oversees Dolphin Capital Investors, an owner and developer of integrated resorts like Amanzoe in Greece and Amanera in the Dominican Republic. The latest resort under development is One&Only Kéa Island, which is expected to set a new standard for ultra-luxury resorts in the Cycladic Islands off the coast of Greece. Since its inception, DCI has raised more than €1 billion of equity funds and made investments in six countries.

Ahead of the conference, Kambourides discussed the state of hospitality in the Mediterranean, the top destinations for investment and the challenges foreign investors face when trying to get a foot in the door.

1. How would you characterize the overall state of hotel investment and development in the Mediterranean region?

The Mediterranean has always been a top destination and as such it has attracted hotel development since the early years of tourism. A lot of hotels, though, have become outdated or tired, and in my view there is room for new or updated product. There was a pause in investment and development activity after the 2008 crisis, but in the past two years we have seen action in the sector and the momentum seems to be growing.

2. In what markets are you seeing the most amount of investment activity and why?

The investment activity is dominated by distressed assets sales in Spain and Portugal. We are seeing new developments, though, everywhere these days, including Greece and Cyprus, although Turkey is not that active as it used to be due to economic and political conditions.

3. What is the biggest obstacle for a foreign investor searching for a project to invest in?

In Greece’s case, which we are very familiar with, high taxation is the biggest issue when it comes to investing in operating assets. When it comes to development, the absence of clear planning laws and land registry, combined with bureaucracy, make the job of investors very difficult.

4. What are the types of hotels and resorts being built and what has the best return on investment? Branded? Select- or full-service? Multi-use developments?

Every type offers opportunities for high returns. The difficult ones are small and unbranded hotels. Dolphin’s business strategy is to invest in ultra-luxury resorts and branded residences as we do believe that Greece and the rest of the Mediterranean do not have enough of this product.

5. How do you compare hotel development in the Mediterranean versus other classes of real estate? Is it a safer or riskier bet?

I would say that due to the fact that the hotel clients are all over the world, hotels are better hedges against downturns compared to other classes where demand is driven by local consumers.

6. What are you most looking forward to at MR&H this year?

Hearing what others have to say and meeting friends from the industry who I have not seen for some time.

Source: "Hotel Management"