Athanasiadis is a member of a group of local investors who have developed projects for new hotels and modernized structures of this type, which this year have represented an injection of about $20 million to the economy of the province of Veraguas.
"In my case, the development we have done by building a modern hotel is to meet the need for rooms that once existed in the city of Santiago, since guests had to go to Chitré to find lodging," said the source.
According to Athanasiadis, the idea of making an investment like the Mykonos hotel is not only to satisfy a need, but to exploit the tourism potential of Veraguas, improve the aesthetic image of the city of Santiago and strengthen the province's geographic position as the center of the country.
The hotel sector is currently the biggest industry in Veraguas, and the investment made by Athanasiadis is on top of a $2.5 million modernization project at the Gallery hotel and the reconstruction of the Gran David hotel for $3.5 million.
Short on staff
However, in the midst of this significant private effort, a problem has surfaced that is impossible to ignore. It is the lack of trained personnel in the service sector to fill the jobs demanded by the over 900 rooms in the local hotel industry.
Arturo Castillo, spokesman for the Institute for Human Resources Training in Veraguas, recognizes that there is currently a serious lack of trained personnel to work in the hotel industry, with the primary obstacle the shortage of bilingual staff to attend to tourists.
Nevertheless, he mentioned that the agency has begun to strengthen training in English courses as a response to the hotel boom happening in Santiago, and training on other areas related to the service sector will also be offered.
Facing this situation, Athanasiadis, who also acknowledged that he has struggled to hire bilingual staff, explained that his company has signed agreements with local universities to channel human resource training on hospitality.
Enos Machuca, municipal treasurer of Santiago, stated that the hotel sector has made a significant investment that will create a ripple effect in the generation of new taxes on bar, restaurant and hotel activity itself that will end up benefitting the local economy, especially next year in 2013.
According to the Municipal Treasury of Santiago, the city has eight hotels with nearly a thousand rooms, spacious event halls, swimming pools, recreational spaces and nature areas.
Eric Montenegro, president of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Veraguas, sums up the hotel boom to the fact that the province is growing and the city of Santiago is positioning itself as the principal place for travel and meetings in the interior of the republic.
Montenegro announced that there are already plans for new investments in the hotel sector in the future, which will lead to the creation of more employment.