Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis recently held meetings on Santorini aimed at creating a sustainable tourism strategy for Santorini. Mr. Theoharis met with regional and local authorities and tourism professionals to begin to hammer out the next moves.
The minister stated in an announcement the key need for stakeholders to create a focused effort to preserve the island’s unique landscape, tradition and production through coordinated actions. He also addressed the need for the government, municipalities, tourism bodies, regional authorities, businessmen and employees to make a coordinated effort.
“Everyone wants Santorini, whose uniqueness has made it a global benchmark, a model destination within the country’s new tourism strategy which focuses on sustainable development.”
According to Minister Theoharis, preserving the island’s unique landscape, tradition and production through coordinated actions is a key objective of that effort. For the goal to be achieved, according to the minister, everyone – the government, municipalities, tourism bodies, regional authorities, businessmen and employees – must coordinate in a joint effort.
“Santorini is a unique tourism destination that we must safeguard and the contacts I had on the island are the first step in managing any open issues,” Mr. Theoharis continued.
During his visit to Santorini, the minister’s agenda included talks with South Aegean Regional Governor George Hatzimarkos, Santorini Mayor Antonis Sigalas, Port Authority President Aggelos Roussos, Cyclades Hoteliers President Manolis Karamolegos and Tourist Accommodation Union President Lefteris Anapliotis.
In addition, during his visit to Santorini, Minister Theoharis visited TUI’s cruise ship Mein Schiff Herz and the archaeological site of Akrotiri, one of the most significant archaeological sites in the Aegean.
A European Parliament report on overtourism, released earlier this year, warned that if tourism flows continue to increase on Santorini, the island will suffer dire consequences.
We reported previously on the extent of the problem and spoke with Rebecca Skevaki, who’s the owner of Crete Urban Adventures, Grecian Lux, and the director of Santorini Urban Adventures. We also discussed, in-depth, the situation with what I called Greece’s “Mickey Mouse” sustainability effort. I also talked to Dr. Godfrey Baldacchino, the UNESCO co-Chair in Island Studies & Sustainability on the issue.
It’s good to see the outcry for sustainable Santorini is not falling on deaf ears. In an upcoming report, we’ll talk with major stakeholders from the hospitality industry on Santorini and more experts engaged in creating truly sustainable tourism in Greece.