ATHENS -- Seven in 10 investors acknowledge that Greece is currently following a more effective policy for attracting investments, with the country's image as an investment destination significantly improved among the global investment community, according to the findings of the EY Attractiveness Survey Greece 2021 presented on Wednesday.
The survey was officially presented at the opening session of the 4th InvestGR Forum 2021: Reforming the Greek Economy, by EY Greece CEO Panagiotis Papazoglou. It was conducted by Euromoney on EY's behalf through online questionnaires between March 29 and April 28, 2021.
The results showed a marked improvement in Greece's attractiveness, despite the increased uncertainty, strong competition and new parameters in play, such as the pressures for more sustainable growth and accelerated digitisation of the economy.
According to the ΕΥ European Investment Monitor the number of Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) in Greece increased 77 pct in 2020, with Greece absorbing 0.7 pct of European FDIs in 2020 -more than doubling its average over the last two decades but still low relative to the country's population and GDP. As a result, its ranking rose to 23rd in 2020, from 29th the previous year and 35th in 2018.
More than half of investments were directed at knowledge-intensive sectors, with 28 pct directed to services for businesses and professional services and 23 pct to software and IT services.
The percentage of businesses that see Greece as a potential investment destination has jumped from 38 pct to 62 pct in the last year, while 75 pct of investors expect a further improvement in the next three years - the highest level among countries conducting similar surveys this year. The number of businesses that consider Greece is currently following an attractive policy for investments has risen to 71 pct, from 62 pct in 2020 and 50 pct in 2019.
There has also been an increase in those who say they intend to invest in Greece during the coming year, to 34 pct from 28 pct in 2020.
Sales and marketing firms continue to rank first among planned investments (33 pct), while research and development follows with 18 pct, along with industry (18 pct). While tourism continues to be viewed as a key driver of growth by 51 pct, the number citing the digital economy has jumped to 26 pct (from 14 pct), followed by logistics (25 pct) and energy/ public utilities (21 pct).
The green and digital transitions are also important factors affecting the decision of many firms to invest in Greece.
Among the country's advantages, according to the survey, are quality of life (78 pct), transport and logistics infrastructure (76 pct), telecommunications and digital infrastructure (73 pct) and the level of skill of the workforce (70 pct). Less favourable are the assessments for the taxation of businesses (42 pct) and flexibility of labour legislation (47 pct).