Ειδήσεις & Σχόλια για Τουρισμό, Περιβάλλον, Οικονομία

Lefkada: The Federation of Lefkadian Associations opposes Municipality's privatization and hotel development plans

Federation of Lefkadian Associations Press ConferenceFederation of Lefkadian Associations Press ConferenceThe Federation held a press conference in Athens to express its opposition to, and coordinate action against, Lefkada Municipality plans to privatize areas adjacent to the Santa Maura Castle and the old cooperative TAOL winery. The Municipality's ultimate goal is to facilitate the construction of a five-star hotel. The Federation points out that the plans are incompatible with the character and the existing archaeological, environmental and spatial planning designations of the area.

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Juniper forest in Chrysi, small Island off Crete, off limits due to tourism pressures

Juniperus MacrocarpaPhoto by Pandemia on FlickrEnvironment Minister Hatzidakis had visited Chrysi Island in June 2020 and talked of a "shameful sight" promising action. This summer limits have been set on the number of tourists taking day trips to the uninhabited 5 sq. km sandy Chrysi (Golden) island 15km south of Ierapetra, Crete. In addition daily visitors are not allowed to venture in the interior of the island so as to allow the Cretan juniper (Juniperus macrocarpa) forest, protected under the EU Natura 2000 scheme, to recover. The island is a declared archeological site and also has shell fossils. Twenty arbitrary constructions were demolished in mid-May 2022, however, according to the Chrysi Action Plan & Monitoring Committee, illegal wells, dirt roads, use of 4WD vehicles, water pipelines, trading (beach bars) and camping activities are still "raging" on the island. The municipality of Ierapetra has protested that the protection measures are "out of reality".

Mykonos Swimming Pool Summer Refill Ban in place

For one more summer (June 1 to August 31, 2022) it will be illegal for everyone including hoteliers to refill resort swimming pools due to water scarcity on the island. The ban was first introduced in 2018 and also prohibits refill by water trucks arriving from other places. A EUR 10k fine applies. Why does an island with magnificent beaches need so many swimming pools anyway?

New cultural portal SearchCulture.gr offers wide variety of digital resources

SearchCulture.gr is a new Greek aggregator for cultural content and national provider for Europeana, the EU cultural portal. A growing collection currently amounting to 800k items from 76 institutions, ranging from museums to municipalities, includes archaeological items, historical documents and manuscripts, items of material culture, works of art, cartographic material, books and intangible heritage resources. The digital files are primarily photographs and other images, pdfs, 3D models and audiovisual material. Digital content is licensed by the owning institutions with open Creative Commons or other licenses, in accordance with any restrictions imposed by copyright and protection of cultural heritage legislation. 

Striking Zakynthos hotel employees win early rehiring

High seasonality is a characteristic of Greek Tourism, especially in island destinations, and the norm is for hotel employees to be made redundant at the end of September and rehired when hotels reopen, usually on Easter. However, two Zante hotels owned by a large US investment management company, did not want to rehire (or pay) around 200 employees earlier than the 10th of June using the pretext of being shut for renovations and a five-star upgrade. After a one month strike and local support, and despite a new law that allows hoteliers not to pay employees during renovations, the hotel workers succeeded in signing a sectoral collective bargaining agreement so that they can be employed from May 10 to October 31.

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First underwater paths marked in sunken prehistoric Pavlopetri settlement

PavlopetriPavlopetriThe Municipality of Elafonissos announced that the first underwater routes at Pavlopetri have been demarcated with underwater signs and the 5,000 year old site is open to swimmers.  Pavlopetri (Paul's Stone), discovered in 1967, and one of the oldest submerged lost cities in the world, sunk following a series of earthquakes around 1,000 BCE. The works were funded by the European Union's INHERIT-MED programme. 

Ministry of Environment will not allow deer hunting in Rhodes

Commenting on the controversial decision by the Rhodes Municipal Council to investigate solutions, including hunting and sterilization, to the problem of the "Platoni" deer (Dama dama) overpopulation which destroys crops and causes around 20 road accidents annually,  Vice-Minister Giorgos Amyras emphatically stated that "deer hunting will not be allowed on Rhodes". Instead, special barriers will be installed in the worst affected areas in southern Rhodes. An estimated 5,000 deer, an icon of Rhodes with a deer statue standing where the Colossus once did in the town harbour, are estimated to live on the island. The Rhodes deer is considered native to the Island, the Balkan peninsula and Turkey, with the island being called "Elafousa" (or Deer island) in ancient times, while fossils go back to the neolithic period. Another theory is that it was (re)introduced by the Knights of St. John in the middle ages but a 2006 study found that it is smaller and genetically distinct from other populations and in need of "urgent" conservation and management. In sharp contrast, the Mayor had proposed allowing licensed hunters to cull about 150 deer per annum! 

Athens Bicycle Month - May 2022

Cities for Cycling-Πόλεις για ποδήλατο, in collaboration with Develop Athens are organizing the first Athens Bicycle Month this May. Enjoy free activities and discover the city by bike.

Europe's largest bifacial solar farm opens near Kozan

The 204-megawatt solar park features two-sided solar modules and covers a total area of 1,821 hectares near the northern Greek town of Kozani. It will supply enough power for 75,000 households and save around 300 mt of CO2. It was 75% funded by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, built by ELPE, Greece's biggest oil refiner, using PV modules by China's JinkoSolar and commissioned by German energy developer Juwi. The development is part of the planned de-lignitization of Western Macedonia.

88 Wineries now certified as 'visitable' by the Ministry of Tourism

Speaking at the 3rd Wine Tourism Conference held in Nemea (1-3 April 2022) the Vice-Minister of Tourism Sophia Zacharaki announced a revamped portal for certified 'visitable' wineries, a new wine tourism awards scheme and welcomed the fact that 24 new wineries have now been certified as visitable bringing the total to 88. Euros 22m will be allocated so that more wineries can be certified. 

Hellenic Hoteliers Federation protests large short term rental development by Radisson in Athens

The new Radisson RED Mitropoleos Square, strategically located near Syntagma Square and Plaka is expected to open in the second half of 2023. It will feature 94 luxury apartments with kitchenettes, to be let as short term rentals (STRs), as well as a gym, a 150 sq. m. conference room, an all-day diner, and a roof top bar-restaurant with a celebrity chef, in an old, converted office building. However these very features have provoked the ire of Hoteliers: the size and location, the deep pockets of the developers and particularly the fact that it will indirectly offer recreation and food services to its customers, something expressly forbidden under the STR Legislation. Grigoris Tassios, President of the Hellenic Hoteliers Federation and a longtime critic of STRs, complains that the EUR 30m development would create unfair competition to nearby hotels burdened with higher VAT, Property and Municipal Taxes. He once more called for the regulation of the STR market and for the reduction of VAT for hotel stays to 6% from the current, pandemic era rate of 13% (the normal VAT rate was 24%).