Investments in connectivity and infrastructure in the wider region of Southeast Europe and the Balkans were the subject of a discussion moderated by Georgios Xirogiannis, Director General of the Association of Businesses and Industries (SEB) in the framework of the international conference Southeast Europe Connectivity Forum (SECF) on which concludes today at the Makedonia Palace Hotel in Thessaloniki, under the auspices of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, the Ministry of Shipping and Island Policy, the Hellenic Logistics Company and the Exporters Association.
Mr. Thanos Psathas, CEO of ETVA Industrial Areas, noted that as a country we should create “Organized Parks” for the establishment of businesses, as they are advantageous in everything compared to anarchic developments. He also stated that for the 14 BI.PE., managed by ETVA, he has submitted a proposal to the Recovery Fund, in order to upgrade these areas by the end of 2026.
Mr. Michalis Christidis, Secretary General (2015 – 2021), Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation – BSEC underlined that Greek companies were the first to settle and start operating in the countries of the Balkans and the NE. of Europe, while he emphasized that Northern Greece and Thessaloniki must finally acquire the role they deserve. He also underlined that the most important investment in Greece is in human resources.
Railway connection Sofia-Thessalonica in 90 minutes
Mr. Roumen Markov, General Manager of Large Infrastructure Projects LLC, pointed out that his company finances with equity capital projects in the area of real estate, water management, railway and road interventions. In fact, he stated that one of the projects they are studying is the Sofia-Thessaloniki railway connection in 90 minutes by train that will develop a speed of up to 320 kilometers per hour.
Mr. Angelos Roupas Pantaleon, Founder of Second Wind & Partners, first mentioned the Thessaloniki-Izmir ferry connection, which after only 40 routes was discontinued because it was probably not well studied. “Perhaps the Lavrio-Izmir route would have made more sense and sustainability” he pointed out and added that “economies of scale are an important criterion for connectivity. Where there is no help from the State, without economies of scale you do not succeed”.
Digitization of the traveler management process at Thessaloniki airport
Mr. Giorgos Vilos, General Director of Commercial and Business Development of Fraport Greece, underlined that “after the investments in infrastructure, the priority has changed and the main problem in tourism is the lack of jobs. Hyper-tourism is also a challenge with the burden it causes in the regions, as it creates a bad travel experience. “Sun-sea” is no longer enough, we need experiential tourism that will last all year round. In this context, he noted that the strategic goal of Fraport Greece is the digitization of the entire passenger management process at the airports it manages, including Thessaloniki.