Minoan Group have received approval from the Greek Minister of Environment, Planning and Public Works, Mr Giorgos Souflias, for its Environmental Impact Study (EIS) in respect of its project at Cavo Sidero in Crete. Approval of the EIS removes the final major hurdle to the project, which is the largest tourist investment ever undertaken in Greece. The development is organised into five unified, very high quality tourist complexes spread over six locations in the form of tourist villages inspired by traditional Cretan settlements. When complete, the resort will have a total capacity of 7,000 beds.
The Minister appeared on Greek television to announce the EIS approval and give a major presentation on the project. The announcement also received substantial press coverage in Greece, appearing as the main story in as many as fifteen national newspapers. The EIS approval, as is the case in most EU countries, is subject to an appeals procedure, but the Minister’s statement clearly demonstrated the level of support for the project within the Greek Government. Major construction work is expected to commence on site in 2007. Minoan Chairman, Christopher Egleton confirmed: “Now that the EIS has been approved by Mr Souflias, Minoan will commence the implementation and operational phases of the project and the crystallisation of value for shareholders.”
This landmark approval is the culmination of almost ten years’ work since Minoan Group acquired a long lease on the site in 1998. The company has already obtained a number of key planning approvals, working closely with the Greek Government and, at a more local level, with the authorities in the administrative areas of Sitia and Itanos, where Cavo Sidero is located.
Summarising his decision, the Minister stressed the vital importance of ensuring full environmental protection to secure the integrity and cohesion of the existing Natura area while maximising the investment opportunity. Budgeted at 1.2 billion Euros, the project is the largest current inward investment in Greece.
The six tourist villages and facilities within this luxury resort development include three golf courses, a modern sports centre and conference centre for 1,200 people. The development will be underpinned by an infrastructure that will ensure full environmental protection, including a desalination plant, waste water treatment plants, a full range of recycling facilities and rainwater collection tanks. A Memorandum of Understanding has already been signed with a major international hotel operator, PGA Golf Management has been appointed to manage the Golf Complex and an agreement is in place with a leading promoter of international golf and sailing events.
Commenting on the decision, the Minister of Environment, Planning and Public Works, Giorgos Souflias, said: “The Cavo Sidero resort will be constructed with absolute respect for the environment, society and the economy and will create new development opportunities. It will strengthen the local economy, create new job opportunities and attract top class international tourists to the area, increasing the cultural wealth of Crete. We hope it will also pave the way for other major investments in Greece.”
Located approximately 30 minutes from the new airport at Sitia in North Eastern Crete, the Cavo Sidero development is expected to appeal to the UK and European tourist and second home markets. The project’s comprehensive plan for sustainability will reinforce and underpin the key elements of environmental and cultural heritage that are vital to the long term commercial success of any large resort that wishes to attract premium tourists.
UK PLUS-quoted Minoan Group is a leisure management company specialising in exclusive holiday destinations. The Group has representative offices in Athens, plus Sitia and Palekastro in Crete. Further details can be found at www.minoangroup.com.