Santorini gasping from overbuilding

Santorini gasping from overbuilding

The popular island of Santorini, which is already a globally negative example of an oversaturated destination, is being gradually covered by buildings, making an already difficult situation untenable.

“The surface of the island covered with buildings reaches 20%, which is higher than that of Attica,” said Santorini Mayor Nikos Zorzos in comments to Kathimerini.

For this reason, he is demanding that “not a single new hotel bed, not a single new short-term rental bed be allowed on the island” while construction outside town zoning “must be stopped completely.” He is also asking for help to improve the island’s infrastructure, as building development is taking place at an “exponential rate and in an irrational manner.”

It is no coincidence that serious tourism businesses that provide high-added-value services and really contribute to the local economy are being undermined by the problems caused by the anarchic and shortsighted development of low-added-value tourism on the island.

Santorini is already buckling under the pressure of overtourism, caused by cruise ships and day-trippers from Crete and other neighboring islands.

The bustle is compounded by more than 500 large buses, 4,000 minibuses and vans, over 10,000 daily visitors and hundreds of quad bikes added to residents’ cars and rental vehicles that all roam over an inadequate road network and the narrow streets of Oia, Fira and other once-peaceful villages.

Resources are limited and it is telling that the local authority is unable to impose even a token fare on cruise ship passengers: The law sets the maximum allowable fee on cruise ship passengers at just €0.35 per passenger. This fee is collected from the port funds by the municipalities and is the same throughout Greece.

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