Santorini Is Capping Cruise Ship Tourism
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Officials in Santorini, the island hotspot that attracts nearly 2 million tourists every year, are saying they’ve had enough with visitors.
Starting in 2019, the island will cap daily cruise ship arrivals at 8,000. “The island is saturated,” Mayor Nikos Zorzos told the Wall Street Journal. The mayor said the overflow of tourists has put too much strain on the island’s infrastructure and supply. Nearly half of the 2 million visitors coming to Santorini are day visitors come on cruise ships that stay on the island an average of seven hours, cruise operators and local officials told the WSJ. The island attracts more than 10,000 visitors a day on some of the summer’s busiest days.
Tourism makes up 20% of Greece’s annual GNP, and the mayor’s decision has caused frustration among cruise ship operators and business owners who rely on these tourists.
“A lot of people here depend on cruisers, but something has to give,” Mayor Zorzos said in an interview with the WSJ. “The electricity grid and water supply are at their limit. Garbage has doubled in five years. If we don’t control the crowds, it will backfire and ruin us.”
However, cruises are booked two years in advance, and the island has no plans to introduce smaller ships or cut trips. The Cruise Lines Industry Association expressed its concerns to the WSJ and said the company will respect the mayor’s decision, but feels like they are being wrongly blamed for the problems caused by tourists. Because the boats are too large to dock on the island’s small ports, smaller boats bring the tourists in from the old port in Fira, on the eastern side of Santorini. From there, long lines form to board an old cable car to ascend into the city — or tourists can ride a donkey, which locals aren’t happy about either.
The mayor’s office said they’ve looked into adding another cable car, but with high costs and approval needed from the government in Athens, it could talk years to complete.
Cruise ship operators aren’t the only ones frustrated about the impending cap. A local cafe owner in Fira expressed to the WSJ that she relies on cruise ship visitors in order to make rent and said every time she hears about limiting numbers she feels insecure.
If you’re a tourist who wants a Greek island experience — but more off the beaten path than Santorini — try one of these 8 Gorgeous Greek Islands You Haven’t Heard of Yet.
H/T: Wall Street Journal
WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.