The Thessaly Regional Tourism Service is requesting a meeting with Alonissos municipal authorities regarding the decreasing tourist figures to the Northern Sporades islands due to inconsistent coastal ferry transportation, local media reports.
The move comes after a series of meetings with tourism professionals on Alonissos and on neighbouring Skiathos, where planning for the season, which was based on a high number of pre-bookings, was overturned due to the cancellation of posted ferry routes “without prior notice and to the fact that shipping companies had failed to finalize programing in May and June”.
According to the director of the Thessaly Regional Tourism Service, Nikos Saroukos, unreliable coastal transport services this summer led to a cancellation in bookings and to the delayed operation of accommodation facilities which rely on coastal ferries for the transport of their clientele.
Indicatively, Seajets announced its new ferry service connecting Thessaloniki with the Sporades, the Cyclades and Crete, in July. While Greek ferry company Golden Star Ferries said it would begin servicing Skiathos, Skopelos and Alonissos – from Thessaloniki with its two new high-speed vessels in mid-June.
Saroukos is requesting a meeting in October in order to table a proposal which will address the “age-old problem of connectivity impacting the Sporades islands and which will center on the reliable connection with Skiathos International Airport and will contribute to the increase of tourist traffic and potential investment interest, as well as improve the quality of life of the residents”.
Saroukos went on to note that he expects the proposal, which includes creating a unified Skiathos – Skopelos – Alonissos product, to be in place by 2020, paving the way for the development of tourism to the region.