OPINION

The right path for the country

Sometimes when you’re discussing something serious, an image or experience will remind you just how important the issue is to the country. A look at the region of Mani clearly illustrates that Greece is at an important turning point with respect to how it will look from 2020 onward, for there are still large areas of stunning beauty that remain untouched. The wave of bad-taste, illegal construction and aluminium have destroyed unique parts of the country. An aerial photograph of Myconos, Paros or Aghios Nikolaos shows the destruction. We are now at a point where the future of those parts that have so far escaped will be decided. Over the next two years, Greece will experience dramatic changes because of the major highways that are already under construction. No one can say exactly how Messinia will be changed once it is just two-and-a-half hours away from Athens or what the new Ionian Highway will bring. International experience has shown that these huge, albeit necessary, superhighways radically change local communities, customs, traditions, everything. Have we, as a society, thought about these effects, have we weighed the pros and cons, do we know where we want the country to go? We certainly can’t live in a dream world where every part of the country is exempt from development. This would be unfair to many who live in such areas, especially when they are faced with a state that takes without giving. The solution must come from a combination of local initiative and central government direction. Tourism experts agree that Greece needs to follow two models of development. One is based on small units, made with care and respect, and the other on luxury accommodation, which will, admittedly, make some areas look more like Sardinia, though at least the natural environment will be protected.