The Greek leadership is hell-bent on ignoring sustainability in favor of attracting outside investment for inadvisable growth. I already reported this several times. Today we read about the captains in Athens steering a Greek Titanic into the unmovable reality of “too much.” Read on and find out how Greece is about to ram a gigantic sustainability iceberg.
The commanders of policy and commerce in Athens remind me of the designers and the captain of RMS Titanic. Those British engineers and able seamen figured their ship was unsinkable too. Now, despite an oversupply of hotel rooms and the potential catastrophe of burgeoning overtourism, it appears the “Florida-Greece” plan has set sail.
Airbnb and an already extensive hotel sector are doing battle to sell beds for ever more tourists to sleep in before they head out to trample monuments and tax infrastructures. Developers see nothing but green, however, even though Athens, Thessaloniki and popular islands already have too many rooms to accommodate even record numbers of tourists. Like I said, “Full steam ahead, Titanic!”
Some companies, logically so, want to turn medium-sized or large properties into boutique hotels, as is the fashion in towns like Paris and London. Dimitris Andriopoulos, chairman and CEO of Dimand Real Estate, which moved into the hotel sector, told reporters recently:
“We are seeing the mass creation of hotels of 15 rooms each – just as was the case with ice cream stores and video clubs.”
Iceberg – Right Ahead!
Two things are about to happen in my opinion. First, the drastic oversupply next season is going to blast hotel occupancy out of the water in Greece. Second, Airbnb and HomeAway type accommodations will begin to take over the island market. In my view, the only hotels that will be left in business in two years will be the large all-inclusive resorts the Germans so cherish. If Greek decisionmakers keep steering into the fog, their country will run headlong into the same fate as the Titanic, they’ll eventually ram into the iceberg of dumbstruck, and Greece’s future will be buried under sunbathers, cruise passengers, and jet ski riders.
I am not the only one who is fearful of this potential. The President of the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels, Alexandros Vassilikos, whose industry has been hit by additional overnight stay taxes, said back in 2018 that the pace of visitors preferring not to stay in hotels was picking up. But Vassilikos only seems worried about unfair Airbnb competition and illegal hotels. The real problem is the expansive mentality of decisionmakers in Athens. Let me reiterate the sheer lunacy prevailing in Greece’s economic sector.
Dr. Theodore Pelagidis, professor of economics at the University of Piraeus is advising Athens to recreate the U.S. state of Florida here in Greece. He says Greece’s “long-term salvation will only come when it becomes the Florida of Europe.” And this is EXACTLY the reverse course I am talking about. Greece needs to become what Florida once was, before the nincompoop greed merchants took hold of it and destroyed it. I hope I am being clear here. GREEDY NINCOMPOOPS always sink the ships of long term profit. I think my proof of this is already filling the sails of truth here.
Excuse me, but it seems like Greek economic geniuses have lost their university instruction on commoditization here. It’s as if supply and demand laws have detached their anchors in the harbors of thinking in Athens. Elevating prices because of unmatched demand! Has this not occurred to these hotel associations and tourism ministers? Let’s take Crete, for example. In the touristic season, the island is booked 110%. That’s big resorts, agro-retreats, Yoga Airbnb’s, everything. Does this mean owners and operators got smart and began demanding 10% more REVPAR or ADR? Nope! TUI and the other block booking mafiosos pitted Turkey and Egypt against Crete and Greece, and hoteliers turned their bellies up and begged.
Solution: Build More Titanics
Now the big boys want to build their own revenue cows too. And Prime Minister Mitsotakis suspended the value-added tax on construction projects in order to help outside players who want to build new hotel and commercial building projects. Talk about a great big sustainability iceberg! Let’s see. How does that work out for Greek hotels and Airbnb owners? George Pagoulatos, another brilliant professor of economics advising these captains of Greece’s future told Financial Times:
“The government has adopted a series of pragmatic small reforms tailored to the specific needs of investors. Once they’re fully implemented, they will help to accelerate growth.”
Meanwhile, media like GTP and many others just suck up to these officials stamping out press release after press release. Here is one dubbed “Greek Tourism ‘Unleashing’ Investment Opportunities.” Where’s the pushback? Look at what CNN is propagandizing, for a clue into what is going on. According to Julia Buckley, the future of sustainability is with the all-inclusive travel buffet. The tradition and culture path Tourism Minister Theoharis chides about when he mentions alternative and prime tourism, has no place in reality. The money men are making it with 4 and 5 star feeding troughs. Sorry, it has to be said.
In that CNN advertorial for travel geniuses, Jeremy Sampson, CEO of the UK-based Travel Foundation gives his pitch this way:
“I don’t think there’s a reality where everyone just goes to ecotourism lodges. It’s not really feasible and doesn’t help destinations shift the pressure in other ways.”
You’re welcome Jeremy, I gave you a link too, only Page Authority 27 instead of PA 55. But you need both kinds for SEO.
Left Full Rudder!
Oh my, “the Travel Foundation, for those yet to come” – ahh, so sublime. Good God, you must read the CNN story to catch a whiff of what these people are trying to package corporate tourism sustainability should be. At one point the story turns all-inclusives into prison camps to detain buffet slurping vacationers away from hostile villagers. I am NOT kidding If you thought the shopping streets in Heraklion, Crete were pitiful last season, wait until Athens slash Luxembourg is done with you in the next four years. Oh, guess who’s behind Travel Foundation and the steerage toward that sustainability iceberg? Come on, you know already.
Yeah, TUI, along with ANVR, the Dutch Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators; Blue Bay Travel; Caribtours; Classic Collection Holidays; Holiday Extras; I love Eco Hotels; Midcounties Cooperative Travel; Bluesun Hotels and Resorts, and many more who dabble in all-inclusive holidays. Blue Sun has Black Friday Exclusive Deals too! (You’re welcome) Do you get it yet? Should somebody holler “left full rudder” from the bridge in Athens? I’m yelling from down here in the engine room.
Pretty soon it will be too late to disembark this doomed Titanic of a tourism plan. The course is plotted. And may God have mercy on the people of beautiful Greek isles. I fear that they’ll be happy Floridians soon, crammed into their square condos eating yogurt from Lidl.
Look, the answer for the Greek people where this tourism situation is concerned, it is not so complicated really. Less is more! End of story.
To be continued…