Building without planning

Building without planning

Let’s say a large hotel unit is being built on an island. Irrespective of the opinions on its aesthetics, which usually vary, it is an investment that initially many people will see positively. It is aimed at high-income tourists and the expectation is created that it will raise the overall level of the island. Few people are concerned about the fact that the island in question lacks basic infrastructure and that the incomplete network that does exist was not designed for such high numbers of tourists.

However, as the hotel begins its operation, everyone starts to realize the impact on the local community and the rest of the island’s tourism industry. Understaffing is a major issue of our time and obviously a large unit makes it worse for everyone else who is struggling to find personnel and compete in terms of wages.

But another problem also emerges: The new hotel rents out every room and apartment on the island for its staff. The room owners are happy because they have a stable income, but people who work in state-run services on the island can no longer find affordable accommodation. At the same time, the average Greek who stayed in these rooms because their prices were reasonable can no longer visit the island. The cheaper tavernas also feel the impact and the domino effect continues.

The main question is the following: When the Greek state issues an operating license to a large tourist unit to build in a relatively small destination, shouldn’t it oblige the investors to build housing for their staff? Or allow them to build one- or two-star hotels that will host them – that is, allow a months-long lease, which is currently prohibited? That way we would avoid these shocking stories of luxury hotels housing their staff in miserable conditions, and we would protect both local communities and access to these destinations for people who can’t afford to pay exorbitant amounts for a room.

We are, of course, a country where we build things without a plan. I hope the government will understand how important this issue is and deal with it immediately. 

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