Overtourism and the Sustainable Future of Hospitality in Greece
Πηγή Φωτογραφίας: The Telegraph- Greece Is
So-called “overtourism” in Greece and Cyprus has less to do with the destination’s desirability than with infrastructure and accessibility.
It is a symptom of a broader problem. While it’s easy and convenient to blame businesses or even the government for what’s an unsustainable practice, the cold reality is that we’re not committed as guests, clients, or citizens of the world.
There’s an abundance of evidence supporting the claim. Take reports like “Is Overtourism Ruining Greece Beaches.” We’ve been informed. Still, our commitments are weak. And while it’s convenient to lay all the blame on government and business, we all must assume responsibility.
Some of you may recall how Cyprus made environmental news for having Europe’s highest water stress levels. You may also remember how in 2018, Intrepid Travel rated Cyprus as the 8th worst country on the planet for overtourism. And most people in the travel business understand that both Cyprus and Greece have real problems tourism sustainability-wise.
However, while the numbers of tourists are vital causal factors, travelers are not the root problem. A discussion with Sotiris Milonas, a renowned hotel sustainability and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) expert in Greece, hit the real problem.
Here’s what Milonas had to say when he was asked if Crete, Greece’s biggest island, has too many hotels:
“This question is linked to the so-called carrying capacity. Personally, I do not think there are too many hotels. Yes, some areas are stressed, but overtourism is not a characteristic of the Greek tourism market.
“The thing that matters though is the infrastructure design that will support the tourism stream and also the obligations of hotel businesses regarding sustainability so that the infrastructure will be sufficient and at the same time will not harm the environment and community. How much tourism do we want? I think we can all agree that it is our national product, that is why we want mechanisms and legislation on sustainability.”
Carrying capacity is the key to every overtourism situation. As logical as this may seem, it’s also a fact that’s been obscured by other aspects. But, what’s most interesting here is that geography, infrastructure, and demand are the root problem. Surprisingly, it turns out that the number of tourists who can be supported in a sustainable way on islands like Crete and Cyprus may be much larger than anticipated.
From a sustainable growth standpoint, the problem seems to be that the supply side of tourism/hospitality has been built on old infrastructure. The best, and now most popular resorts tend to be clustered where roads and utilities existed first.
Διαβάστε όλες τις τελευταίες Ειδήσεις από την Ελλάδα και τον Κόσμο