Greek Tourism & Environment News
Plaka Bridge in Epirus, built in 1866 over the river Arachthos, is one of the largest single arched stone-bridges in Southern Europe, and a key entry point to Greece until 1913. The bridge, a historical monument, collapsed after heavy rainfall in February 2015 due to foundations erosion. Under the guidance of famed restoration Architect Manolis Korres, a 6 year reconstruction project, first of its kind in Greece, was successfully completed using natural, traditional materials and construction methods. The reconstruction team won a Europa Nostra award with the ceremony taking place on October 2, 2021.
An agreement between the Greek Hotel Chamber and the Labour Ministry to assist adolescents in state foster care who are over 16 years old to find internships in Hotels has met with huge criticism by hotel labour unions and left-wing opposition parties who accuse the government of Dickensian-era policies promoting child labour rather than compulsory education until 18 years of age. The Ministry of Labour has dismissed such criticism as 'fake news' while stressing the need to de-institutionalize the children and ease their entry into the job market. Children over 15 years old are legally allowed to work in Greece as long as the position does not involve dangerous, heavy or unhealthy work. Children under 15 years old may also work in the cultural sector although there are strict hour limits.
A protest rally was held on Glystra beach in southern Rhodes on September 5, 2021 against an illegal development. The controversial construction, apparently a beach bar/restaurant, apparently commenced in February 2021, in winter and during quarantine, so as to go undetected. According to reports, the beach umbrella rental operators have only obtained a license from the municipality for a small canteen on wheels. However the new construction somehow managed to be connected to the electricity and water grid. The nearly completed building, which the antiquities authority, among others, are now trying to demolish is on a public land and within an archaeological zone. Such illegal constructions used to be the rule on many popular Greek beaches however central authorities have become more determined to stop this corruptive phenomenon in recent years. But it seems not all local authorities are on board yet.
The Ministry of Environment and Energy announced that six-year National Action Plans will be drawn for seven endangered species including the three vulture species, the caretta sea turtle, the Balkan chamois (Rupicapra), the Karpathos toad (Pelophylax cerigensis), indigenous trout, Lepidoptera (Parnassius Apollo) and the flower Silene holzmannii. The plans will be funded by the European regional development fund.
At it's heyday in the 1980s, Potamianos' Epirotiki (established in 1850) was the second largest cruise operator in the Mediterranean with a presence in other markets like the Caribbean and South America. Potamianos was at the helm of the Greek Passenger Shipping Association for over 20 years. In March 2020 he wrote a passionate letter to the Greek Minister of Shipping offering detailed proposals about the revival of a more sustainable Greek cruise sector. Things started going wrong for Epirotiki with the loss of three ships in the course of three years (1988-1991), followed by an unsuccessful partnership with Carnival, a merger and a listing in Nasdaq in 1998 as "Royal Olympic Cruise Lines (ROC)" which closed in 2005. A related cruise line, Celestyal Cruises, is still going strong however - it is owned by the Louis group, which bought a 70% share of ROC in 1999.
The hybrid 8th International Conference of the International Association of Cultural and Digital Tourism (IACuDiT) will be held in Hydra Island, Greece, on September 1st – 3rd, 2021, with the theme “Transcending Borders in Tourism through Innovation and Cultural Heritage”. The aim of this conference is to promote constructive, critical and interdisciplinary conversations on the challenges emerging in tourism from the digital transformation of the industry by bringing together researchers, communities, industry and government stakeholders. The organisers have issued a call for papers, for more details visit https://iacudit.org/Conference2021/ All accepted papers will be published in the conference proceedings, under Springer publications indexed in WEB OF SCIENCE™ Thomson Reuters.
Chances are that, unless you are an archaeology buff, you have not heard about the Greek Aegean island of Keros. 60 km SE of famous Mykonos, it is its antithesis, as it is totally uninhabited, unless you count an endless stream of archaeologists from all over the world (that keep digging during the day and return by boat to nearby Koufonisia island in the evening). Five thousand years ago Keros was bustling, as one of the most important centres of the mysterious Cycladic Civilization (2,700-2,300 BCE), one of the earliest, advanced civilizations in Europe, that left us no written records but fortunately gave us some wonderful art in the form of the characteristic, modern-art looking, white figurines that influenced Picasso and Henry Moore among others.
An MOU was signed between the Ministry of Environment and the Administration Body of the new UNESCO Geopark of Grevena-Kozani according to which the Ministry promises to fund all six Greek Geoparks that are Members of the UNESCO Network, namely, Vikos-Aoos, Lesbos, Psiloritis, Helmos-Vouraikos, Siteia and Grevena-Kozani.
250 free charging points are already in operation at AB supermarket sites across Greece with 100 more to be developed in the next 3 months.
Under the agreement, the recycling company 'Anakyklosi Syskevon A.E.' will come and collect free of charge old electric and electronic equipment, and ink cartridges and lamps from hotel facilities.
Greek citizens and permanent residents may apply for subsidised holidays in Greece, including accommodation, transport and tours, at www.tourism4all.gov.gr from 5 July 2021. This year's budget is EUR 100 m. which will be allocated to around 600,000 participants through vouchers. To be eligible, your total annual personal income should not exceed EUR 16k or EUR 28k in the case of families (plus EUR 1,500 for each adolescent family member). The subsidy essentially fully covers up to 3 nights of accommodation with a threshold of Euros 40 per person per night. It certainly helps but it should have been at least 3 times as much in order to make a significant impact in tourism destinations trying to recover from a state of shock from the pandemic and with the imminent threat of the Delta variant.
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