OPINION

‘Dark side’ of tourism

As a Greek living abroad for over 42 years, I dare say that I am not surprised that despite the Olympic Games taking place, tourism appears to be suffering. I do not think that the tourist authorities put any emphasis on quality tourism and hotels, and I also fear that excessively heavy discounting attracts hordes of beer louts who do Greece’s image no good, leaving negligible profits for the hoteliers upon their departure. I have visited Greece several times only to find that one has only three options for accommodation, ranging from very few five-star hotels, to private pension houses, and to heavily discounted hotels catering to ‘trashy tourists’ in Faliraki, Rhodes, and elsewhere which seem to have tarnished Greece’s reputation beyond repair. The national press here had consistent and extensive coverage of foreign youths terrorizing the streets in a drunken state, ‘mooning,’ and rendering Faliraki synonymous with the worst neighborhood one can possibly think of. Many other islands have also suffered a similar fate. Our tour guide in Rhodes was recently making proud comments regarding the millions of tourists the island attracts, yet a lot of my fellow passengers who had been there before said that the island was ruined and they would not return. What return on investment do these ‘missions’ reflect in comparison to upmarket hotels, say, in Italy, Spain, France, Switzerland, and so on? All the tourist authority officials have to do is spend nights at the various ‘hotels’ that reflect the dark side of Greek tourism abroad to realize what damage is being wreaked, has been wreaked, and which is only going to get worse. E. (MANOS) J. POULARAS
London, England