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Akrotiri Event Brings Overtourism on Santorini into the Spotlight

Santorini Island

Santorini Island

Santorini Mayor Nikos Zorzos reiterated his rising concerns about the toll of overtourism on the popular Cycladic island, during an event held this week at the Acropolis Museum, marking 50 years since excavations brought to light one of the most important prehistoric Aegean settlements, the site of Akrotiri.

Organized by the Thira Municipality, the event titled “Santorini in Athens – 50 Years Akrotiri – Works and Potential in the Field of Culture”, was opened by Culture Minister Lydia Koniordou, who referred together with Zorzos to the cultural importance of the Akrotiri site as well as to the actions for its protection and promotion. The site is visited by over 2 million people annually.

The island’s mayor took the opportunity in the meantime, to address the issue of overtourism, which he said is impacting the island’s infrastructure, utilities services and standard of living.

Santorini Mayor Nikos Zorzos.

Santorini Mayor Nikos Zorzos.

Zorzos added that unregulated construction on the island is further exacerbating the situation threatening traditional settlements. Indicatively, the mayor said, in 1971 there were 3,375 residences and now they are more than 13,888.

With regard to the 50-year anniversary of the Akrotiri excavations, Zorzos said the municipality will distribute 100,000 euros annually to support and showcase the island’s archaeological sites.

Koniordou went on to add that 500,000 euros have been allocated for the expansion of the Thira museum, among others.

During the event, Zorzos also said studies for works on marina projects at Monolithos and other ports were currently underway with a tender set to be announced for an 8.4-million-euro restoration project of the port at Athinios.

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