OPINION

Local authorities and tourism

The responsibility for developing Greece’s tourism sector does not lie solely on the shoulders of the central government. The bold measures toward decentralization adopted by the Interior Ministry have shifted many of the central government’s powers to local authorities and this is correct because local communities have better knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of each region in terms of tourism development. This transfer of power also entails the transfer of responsibility and municipal authorities throughout the country are not only in a position to do a lot to attract tourism, but are bound by duty to do so. They must take an active part in formulating tourism development programs for their respective regions, making sure that public places are kept clean and working to beautify their cities. These are but some of the responsibilities outlined in the new Municipal and Community Code. What’s more, in contrast to the past, when decentralization did not come with any extra funding, this time funds going to local authorities have more than doubled. Local authorities have been given the tools and the money to develop tourism in their regions and now they must come up with long-term strategies to promote the advantages of each individual region. It is their duty to repair old wounds and to erase the eyesores marring their environments. They must find clever ways to attract tourism. The power and responsibility is now shared by local communities and in a few months they will be called upon to vote for the people who will administer the new tools. The citizens of each region must choose who will be most effective because it is they who will reap the benefits but also pay for the damage if their choices are unwise.