By Ilias Bellos
A government-commissioned study on managing excessive tourism recommends significant legislative, administrative and investment interventions on the islands of Mykonos and Santorini.
The study, drafted by a major independent international firm, aims at turning those popular Cycladic islands into models for sustainable development and management of increased demand for accommodation and entertainment. It constitutes a blueprint of measures managing the number and timing of tourist arrivals on those two islands, as well as a series of administrative initiatives and investments in crucial infrastructures.
“Mykonos and Santorini constitute two iconic tourism brands, which due to their appeal also affect to a significant extent the national image of the Greek tourism product. Consequently any problems these islands face are reflected on the broader picture. Given the the government’s determination to turn Greek islands into paradigms of sustainable development, including Mykonos and Santorini will have multiplying effects,” Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias tells Kathimerini.
“For that purpose we have discussed with all parties concerned and drafted two action plans for those islands with an integrated policy toward the action required for meeting the strategic objectives. These are improving the inhabitants’ quality of life, strengthening the visitor experience, making development sustainable increasing tourism revenues,” says the minister.
Kikilias notes that “with the cooperation of the entities involved, these two islands could constitute a global case study on the transition to a new era in conditions of sustainability and prosperity.”
Besides the planned regulations to ration the number and times of tourism arrivals, some of the measures proposed take the form of strategic investments with private sector participation. They include the construction of a new port at Monolithos on Santorini, a plan for integrated waste management on Mykonos, the expansion of the water and sewage networks, a bigger share of renewable sources in power supply and connecting to the national grid.