Yesterday it was news of the Greece leadership getting set to welcome 700 cruise ships to further muddy the Aegean waters. Today, the second string Tourism Minister is calling for “championship numbers” at a time when global warming and climate disasters threaten us all. Their misleading “plan” for sustainability is stinking to high heavens now.
Yesterday on OPEN TV, Greece Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias put this out there:
“We want to be leaders in tourism. We want to be champions, we do not want one of the best scores, we want the best. This is achieved with great effort and hard work. The Ministry of Tourism and professionals directly or indirectly are responsible for the 25 pct of the GDP of the Greek economy.”
Numbers, euros and cents, chest pounding by a taller version of Harry Theoharis, it’s just insulting. The former hoopster turned politician went on bragging about how he and his team dominated WTM in London with deal after deal to drive more budget tourists to Greece.
Two million is the magic number Greeks can expect from the budget airline EasyJet. And for people here in Heraklion, I know that a prospective base of the airline will bring gleeful cheering. Jet2 was also on Kikilias’ scorecard as he boasted of some 600,000 more fliers to 15 airports across Greece next year.
These numbers are a nightmare if we consider much of Greece is already experiencing overtourism. No wonder Kikilias’ field goal percentage as a player sucked so bar. The dude can’t shoot hoops or subtract environmental degradation from touristic value.
According to the news from ANA, Kikilias went on to stress the fact he’d already inked deals with Air France and Transavia during the French fair Top Resa. He also took credit for scoring big on October reservations for next season, more numbers showing growth as compared to previous years.
It’s the same old chest pounding, fist bumping we saw from his predecessor. These guys are like little Mini-Me’s of Mitsotakis. Cardboard cutouts who could care less what people say about their mediocrity. But, that’s politics anywhere, if I’m fair.
Kikilias was cited by Kathimerini some time back discussing (as a kind of afterthought) alledged planning for preventing overtoursm effects worsebning in Greece. Yet, nowhere that a normal person can find is evidence of Kikilias, his boss Mitsotakis, or anyone in leadership speaking with a sustainability expert of any kind. Maybe their entourage walked past some climate scientist at some point, but the alledged plans for sustainable Greece are hidden behind some Oz curtain.
I defy the whole group of them to reveal an image before this writing, showing anybody in New Democracy meeting with a climate or environmental scientist. You can Google Kikilias and the environment and find him telling the 1st Athens ESG & Climate Crisis Summit that airplane emissions are a facet of pollution that cannot be controlled. But since the 700 cruise ships headed to Pireaus next summer will pollute 6 times more than all the airplanes headed to Greece, we shouldn’t be so worried the Tourism Minister will be moving to cut tourism flows anytime soon.
But Kikilias is only doing what he is told, just like Theorharis before him. Basically, Mitsotakis and his handlers find people who will sell their souls for a few pieces of silver, and they stick them in positions where betraying the public trust requires thick skinned decision makers. Sorry, it’s time to take the gloves off in combatting these corporate lackies. TUI runs Greece like a vacation cricus. Do the math on the 3 million travelers Kikilias and Co. worked out with the German tours company recently. How many euros is that?
If you are Greek, I know you don’t expect these high profile people to be agents of change. The population of this banana pudding republic knows full well, and gave up long ago on the notion that democracy has anything to do with the public good. As for Kikilias, the EU dropped dime on him for lying to the people when he was Health Minister over vaccines. And Kikilias was instrumental in vaccinating remote islands instead of old people here in Heraklion when operation “Blue Freedom” went into effect last season. Greece not only ushered in big championship numbers for Mykonos and other islands, the county witnessed a lot of vulnerable old people dying alone, unconscious in underfunded hospital ICUs.
As I said, the gloves are off for me. If these guys can publish one fallacy after another on GTP and other media every day, then I can counter with our tiny news outlet as well. It’s time these sorry excuses for leaders put up or shut up. 3 million TUI tourists in buffet lines on Greek beaches, and 700 cruise ships full of H&M workers from Hamburg are not going to save the next traditional tavern set to close in some Crete or Kos village.
The tons of garbage and other waste being produced and left for underprivileged Greeks to clean up is another horror in all this. I’ll save that one for the next time these talking basketball heads pop off. This will probably be tomorrow. For now, I hope this reverse slam dunk catches their attention. At least they can do a photo op with a sustainability guru.