The weak, incompetent, indifferent and idle

The weak, incompetent, indifferent and idle

I assume that before you build or buy a house you check some basic things: If it has water; if it’s linked to the sewerage system; if your trash will be collected; if the road leading to the property is in good repair; if there is any kind of plan for how many houses can be built, how much traffic the area can handle and where someone can park; if basic medical care is available in the area in case of an emergency.

It is a strange thing: These very basic and self-evident questions that each of us ask before acquiring a house were not thought of by anyone, not a soul, before development began on our islands and in other tourist areas. The results are obvious and are experienced the hard way by Greek and foreign visitors every summer, and especially in August. Every year the situation gets worse and nobody does anything.

The sailor who loves Greece may be happy that there’s no waste treatment plant as he enjoys a drink at the harbor. Try explaining how many tens of thousands of euros have been spent on studies and facilities that were torn up in the end. Tourists wait for the ferry under the blazing sun because there is no shelter. Islands are inundated with thousands of tourists at a time because no one wants to plan how many cruise ship visits an island can handle in one day – and so many more examples.

Mayors shrug their shoulders and declare their inability to solve the problems. The regional authority declares it is not competent. The businesspeople in tourism and catering act as if the issue does not concern them. As for the government, it also doesn’t care and just makes sure that urban planning exemptions are renewed every year. It’s crazy how many billions are spent on roads that are often useless instead of creating infrastructure that will protect this great national capital that is these tourist destinations.

However, the situation has reached an impasse. The Greek brand could be undermined if this continues, and – I’m sorry – but it will not be the fault of those who write about these problems. It will be the fault of those who did not plan, who do not react even now that the problems are glaring and are only guided by vested business and local interests. However, we will reach the point where, in order to prevent various tourist destinations from collapsing, someone – the government or the Council of State – will need to make a drastic decision: to say that no new building permits will be issued until the five or six crucial problems that have been plaguing the area for decades are resolved.

Subscribe to our Newsletters

Enter your information below to receive our weekly newsletters with the latest insights, opinion pieces and current events straight to your inbox.

By signing up you are agreeing to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.