The Agora > Holidays in Hellas

Too much tourism?



--- Quote ---As Development Alters Greek Islands’ Nature and Culture, Locals Push Back

With a deluge of foreign visitors fueling seemingly nonstop development on once pristine Greek islands, local residents and officials are beginning to fight back, moving to curb a wave of construction that has started to cause water shortages and is altering the islands’ unique cultural identity.

Tourism is crucial in Greece, accounting for a fifth of the country’s economic output, and communities on many islands depend on it. But critics say the development has spiraled out of control in some areas, particularly on islands like Mykonos and Paros, where large-scale hotel complexes have mushroomed in recent years.

The islands, at the forefront of Greece’s tourism boom, are facing increasingly urgent calls to preserve their natural and cultural heritage.

The number of foreign arrivals to Greece broke another record in 2023, with 30.9 million in the first 10 months of the year, according to the Bank of Greece — an increase of 17 percent over the previous year and surpassing prepandemic tourism levels.

To meet such demand, 461 new hotels opened on Greece’s southern Aegean islands from 2020 to 2023, according to data from the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels compiled by the Athens-based Research Institute for Tourism. Of those, 126 were opened last year, according to the institute.

The proliferation of swimming pools has put a serious strain on water supply on Cycladic islands like Sifnos and Tinos, and the aggressive expansion of seaside bars over pristine beaches on many islands has generated a backlash from locals.
--- End quote ---

According to an article in, "Some of the most-visited, like Mykonos and Santorini, have become almost like Las Vegas or Disneyland attraction versions of themselves, narrow corridors packed with people elbowing for position."

Apparently an article on (in Greek) reckons the development of the old Athens airport site at Hellinikon is one of the largest developments in Europe with "10,000 homes, offices, two shopping malls, schools, clinics, sports facilities, hotels and green spaces bigger than London's Hyde Park." Included in the plan is a Las Vegas style casino, the largest casino complex in Europe. It's estimated the Hellinikon complex will increase yearly tourism to Athens by 10%.

No doubt it will also include foreign coffee and restaurant chains.


--- Quote ---Athens on Fodor’s ‘No’ List in 2024 Due to Overtourism

Although Athens has been ranked as one of the world’s leading 50 cities in 2024, International travel guide Fodor’s has included it in its list of places to avoid this year and the reason is overtourism.

 “The ‘No’ List isn’t a hit piece. It’s not a round-up of spots we revile, but a declaration of places we revere. We love these destinations. And we know you love them, too. But our frenzied admiration and incessant need to experience them are not sustainable,” said Fodor’s editors who compiled the list.
--- End quote ---


[0] Message Index

Go to full version