Greece’s privatization agency, HRADF is set to announce the winners of international tenders for the sale of majority stakes in the port authorities of Irakleio (Heraklion) and Volos, on Crete and in central mainland Greece, respectively. But the question is, will these destinations prosper alongside their international partners?
HRADF, is also expected to announce this month, which investment schemes have been selected in the second phase of a tender for the ports of Alexandroupolis and Kavala, both in northern Greece, with the port an announcement dealing with the port of Igoumenitsa, in extreme northwest Greece.
HRADF’s overall goal, according to sources, is to finalize all of the tenders for the provincial ports within 2021. Greece is offering up a 67% stake in the port authorities that exploit the ports, along with the management. Other than Alexandroupolis, which lies a few kilometers west of the land border with Turkey in the province of Thrace, US interest has recently been expressed for the port authority of Volos.
The report also mentions Heraklion as a potential cruise tourism prospect, something the locals are not too thrilled with given the island’s overburdensome tourism in the past few years before the pandemic. Local merchants feel cruise tourism contributes very little to their revenues while taxing the overall infrastructure of the island.
For a look at how cruise tourism is viewed by many Greeks, this story from the famous Santorini Dave says it all. Here’s the gist for Santorini:
“Please, don’t do a cruise to Santorini. They’re bad for the citizens, the environment, and the local economy, and they’re a lousy way to see the island. On a cruise, you only get a few hours to see Santorini – and it’s busy, hectic, and packed with tourists whenever a cruise ship is in port.”
Here in Heraklion the situation is as bad, or worse. Crete is just not one of those places you can enjoy fully in a half day, a week, or even a month. Hitting the high spots, cruise passengers get a chip of a Cretan experience, while businesses and the locals get a human buffet that’s mostly a waste of energy and resources.
Photo credit: Olivier Duquesne