ECOCLUB.com Team Blog
blogging about ecological & socially just tourism & living
While international tourist arrivals are falling for a second consecutive year and accommodation rates slashed to bargain levels, the government’s neoliberal agenda includes the long-lease of at least 40 “uninhabited” islands for “tourism development” ignoring the fact that most are considered important bird and marine conservation areas and some are actually located within marine protected areas. In fact some in the government, dreaming of billions of euros in proceeds, would have liked to sell these islands outright. However, for the time being this is not quite legit / allowed by the constitution (money - launderers beware) - although exceptions exist such as a few small private islands (famously Skorpios and Spetsopoula) owned by heirs of shipping magnates, lesser known but richer industrialists and some others incredulously claimed by heirs of traditional goat herdsmen-boatsmen perpetually looking for gullible buyers.
Domestic tourism in particular has taken a big hit, reflected in - among other things - the large losses of ferry operators and the huge number of hotels of all sizes which are for sale and up for grabs by foreign investor funds, offshore schemes and assorted money-launderers.
Other government plans include the abolition of the unemployment benefit paid by the state to hotel workers - the tourism season in most Greek destinations is just 3 months long and hotel employees are usually laid off in October to be rehired the following June - and the selling-off of large state-owned properties for tourism development such as the Afantou estate in Rhodes and the area of the old Athens airport in Elliniko.