A European Parliament report focusing on the impact of overtourism on EU destinations is warning that if tourism flows continue to increase and remain unregulated, the popular Greek island of Santorini will suffer dire consequences.
Carried out by the European Parliament’s Committee on Transport and Tourism (known as TRAN), the report, titled “Overtourism: Impact and Possible Policy Responses”, underlines that the increasing tourism flows to the island – reaching by as many as 18,000 a day including cruise travelers – will eventually take a toll on the island’s reputation as well as on the islanders themselves and lead to deterioration, tainting its attractiveness as a tourism destination in the future.
The report notes that a large part of the situation is due to “the lack of success of government interventions, including the poor implementation and enforcement of policies… and the failure of policies and caps to be effective in limiting the number visitors to an acceptable level”.
Indicatively, the number of overnight stays on Santorini in 2017 came to 5.5 million, compared to 3.3 million in 2012.
TRAN analysts point to the “lack of tourism governance and strategic cooperation between local and national authorities”, which, they say, may “put the future of the destination at risk”.
The “relentlessly” large number of tourists to Santorini has led, according to the report, to a spread of visitors into residential neighborhoods, too many cruise ship arrivals, an unbalanced number of tourists per resident, environmental issues, tourist complaints about other tourists, traffic and public transport congestion, as well as “uncivilized behavior”.
TRAN urges the implementation of effective policies aimed at managing and regulating increasing tourism flows in order to ease the negative consequences of overtourism on the local community.
Besides Santorini, the Ionian islands as well as the Peloponnese in Greece, are among 15 other European regions “at a high risk of overtourism”.
In late 2017, Greek Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura spoke about the issue of overtourism during the Ministers Summit organized by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the World Travel Market (WTM) in London.