Team Blog

blogging about ecological & socially just tourism & living Team

Responsible Tourism Week Hangout with our Editor & Members Host Ron Mader, Editor Antonis Petropoulos and Members Natali Dologlou, Aivar Ruukel, Sudipta Kiran Sarkar and Chris Milnes discuss responsible travel in Greece, Estonia, Malaysia and the United States in the context of Responsible Tourism Week 2016 : Team

The delightful Anafiotika anachronism

Non-ostentatious, quickly-built and modest enough so as to be missed by the law in the 1840s, today fortuitously missed by many high-season tourists fixating on the Acropolis: the Anafiotika neighbourhood, right below the massive Acropolis rock, on its shady, north-eastern slopes, offers a surreal and serene aegean island experience just 1 km from the political (and occasionally literal) battlegrounds of Syntagma Square; this tiny quarter is not-to-be missed by serious travellers.   Its island architecture is an authentic product of builders from Anafi, an island east of Santorini - one so poor and barren that it was a place of exile during the turbulent 20th century. The first two houses (two rooms really) were, allegedly, built by G. Damigos, a carpenter and M. Sigalas, a stone mason, for their families over a few nights, with the fear of police arriving as this was a no-building area, protected since 1834, due to... Team

an athenian autumn

Karagiozis Music Project @ Trianon CinemaKaragiozis Music Project @ Trianon CinemaWhile 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. Team

10 dirty airlines, 300 million dirty cars

Ten airlines, two Indian and eight Chinese, accounting for nearly 3% of global airline carbon emissions (which in turn account for around 1.6% of the total global carbon footprint), still refuse to meet a final, June 15 deadline to report their emissions data to the EU. According to an EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) effective from January 1, 2012,  all airlines flying to EU countries are obliged to cover 15% of their emissions by purchasing emission permits.  The extra charge, with carbon offset prices at record lows, expected to be paid by around 4,000 airlines, amounts to just 10 euros (on average) per ticket (close to the current cost of a ton of carbon) and very small to make flying less competitive than eco-friendlier modes of transport such as rail. It is also still unclear in what ways each EU country will use the funds so as to tackle climate change with... Team

reviving the traditional, local economy of Kea Greece

  An excellent example of how ecological farm tourism can help revive the real, local economy in Greece. We want more of this, and not at all pharaonic mega-tourism & real estate projects or oil platforms in the Aegean or Ionian. Team

happy landings

  When we first read it we thought it was a holiday joke, no it is serious. In one more victory of “The Markets” over common sense, airlines have been cleared by America’s aviation regulators to use twin-jet aircraft (notably the Boeing 777 and 787) over the North Pole, supposedly saving fuel costs and the environment and allowing non-stop flights from Europe to Pacific destinations such as Fiji or Hawaii. It is easy to comprehend the joy of the airlines and of the aircraft manufacturer oligopoly, but what about the effects on passenger and crew safety: there increased ultraviolet radiation in the polar regions, not to mention how many will survive an emergency landing even if it is successful. And how would frequent crossing of the poles impact on the already decreased ozone concentration in the Arctic, which by the way also suffers from radioactive contamination from the tests of... Team

Turtles in Trouble

Uncontrolled and ever-expanding packaged tourism and coastal development, along with overfishing in the Mediterranean is taking its toll on resources and what still survives of the marine wildlife.  [video: 640x360] Above is a pleasant to watch, yet informative video aimed at resort staff (but also suitable for schools) in coastal resorts popular with nesting sea turtles, so that the adverse impact of mass tourism can be somewhat reduced. It was produced by the Travel Foundation (UK) and distributed in Greece through the Mediterranean Association to Save the Sea Turtles (MEDASSET). The NGO carries yearly assessment of major nesting areas such as Zakynthos, Kefalonia and Kyparissia in Greece, Akamas in Cyprus and Akyata, Dalyan, Kazanli Patara and Samandag in Turkey, and submits these to the standing committee of the Bern Convention at the Council of Europe, so that respective governments are forced to respond and take action. In their annual assessment... Team

99%: now the world!

A very interesting video on the 99% movement presenting the underlying income inequality statistics can be found at       The Vision of Humanity website also has very interesting statistical data nicely presented, the following is on income inequality worldwide: Income inequality is increasing worldwide with more people falling below the poverty line. The statistics may be fixed by lowering the line however in terms of solving real problems patience is running out. Time may actually have already run out for the current global economic system, although it may be proven as just one more periodic crisis of capitalism (it is quite protracted though).   Whatever the case, it is important is that it does not collapse on peoples heads, but they start exiting the crumbling structure now, and joining or forming alternatives - local exchange systems, collectives, urban farms, soup kitchens and so on, millions of tiny holes in... Team

Between Sisyphus and Epicurus

Deceitful King Sisyphus was condemned by Zeus to eternally carry a boulder to a top of the hill with the boulder rolling down again. Sisyphus has been interpreted as representing vain politicians, aspiring for eternal glory and eternally failing. Epicurus on the other hand praised the virtues of a pleasant, just and detached - including from politics - life. On the second day of a general strike in Greece, it seems we have to choose whether to follow Sisyphus and the illusion of capitalist abundance, or Epicurus and his doctrine that "natural wealth is both limited and easily obtained, but vanity is insatiable". Compared to what lies ahead, life in Greece until 5 years ago seemed quite good for the vast majority of the population (with the exception of immigrants), reflected in us reaching the top 20 of the Human Development Index at the time. However not all was well however,... Team

on the british riots

Remembering the way tabloids were treating Athens in the run up to the 2004 Olympics (which always are, like all mega-events, a mega-waste)  a certain schadenfreude could be expected from Athenians, but on the contrary they feel a sense of solidarity with Londoners and the UK tourism sector who seem to be experiencing the same effects of neoliberal globalisation - high youth unemployment, social injustice, racism, police brutality, increased crime, all leading, mathematically, to riots. I have found the reaction of the London Greens (here and here) interesting and measured, while a post in Red Pepper also seems to put the finger in the wounds. Let us hope that neoliberal government policies will be reversed soon, both in UK and in Greece.