New Golf Village near Vai and Toplou Monastery

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Golf Village in East Crete

The creation of a “Golf Village” including a luxury hotel, a golf course with the necessary installations, about 100 villas and apartments and all the necessary water, access and environmental infrastructure is planned in the first phase of the complex “Cavo Sidero” project in Lassithi, one of the largest tourism investment projects ever made in Greece. The tourist village will be built near Vai and the Monastery of Toplou.

The second phase comprises “Grandes” village with similar infrastructure. The third phase will follow and the whole investment project will take about 10 years to complete, with the expected creation of 1,000 jobs during construction and 2,300 direct positions later.

Work on the project is finally due to begin next May after 15 years on hold, while British investors announced that the first phase should be completed and operational by the 2009 season.

The project will cover about 2,500 hectares and comprises six tourist villages with 7,000 beds and infrastructure, with buildings on less than 1% of the overall area.

The owners, Minoan Group (formerly Loyalward Group Plc), presented the project schedule and details to the Greek media at a press conference attended by Tourism Development Minister Fani Palli-Petralia and British Ambassador Simon Gass.

Minister of the Environment, Planning and Public Works Mr. Giorgos Souflias gave the project the go-ahead last November, with the permission of the Environmental Impact Study.

Minoan Group Chairman Christopher Eagleton said that this is one of the largest international projects currently implemented in Greece and southern Europe, with direct and indirect investment of 1.2 billion euros. At this stage the company’s share capital is 27 million GBP. There are about 600 shareholders including 15 Greeks and two companies. The rest are private investors holding under 2% of the shares, while the Minoan Group Board of Directors control 10%. Mr Eagleton invited more Greek investors to participate.

The land has been leased from Toplou Monastery for 80 years. Through its “Panagia Akrotiriani” foundation, the Monastery will collect a percentage of both turnover and profits.

A major part of the presentation concerned the environment. Mr Eagleton said that Minoan Group’s vision is to create a model of sustainable tourist development. The village will include a centre of environmental and cultural studies, and an Environmental Management Group will be formed. The company also announced that it will be working with Forum for the Future, which is involved in decision-making on sustainable environmental policy in the UK and Europe.

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