A brighter, healthier future for Santorini depends on ensuring closer cooperation, tighter regulations, upgraded infrastructure and the protection of the island’s cultural and geological heritage, said its mayor, Nikos Zorzos, on Tuesday during the 5th “Santorini – The Next Day: Challenges, Thoughts, Objectives” event held at the Acropolis Museum in Athens.
“Santorini should be a case study for quality tourism with sustainable management,” said Alternate Shipping Minister Nektarios Santorinios, adding that “we are here to discuss and find solutions”.
The event brought together government officials, local stakeholders, and tourism experts who shared insight into issues of vital importance for the island and its residents and visitors.
Zorzos referred to a number of challenges including the upgrade of infrastructure projects; the need to change attitudes particularly with regard to respect for public space and the environment; heightening the involvement of tourism professionals and local business owners in planning; the targeted promotion of the island’s geophysical, cultural, gastronomy and wine products; and reducing atmospheric and noise pollution.
On a final note, Zorzos invited public and private stakeholders to work together towards the creation of a legal framework that will address the challenges created from increasing tourism activity and demand.
Speaking on behalf of the Institute for the Study and Monitoring of the Santorini Volcano, researcher and volcano expert Giorgis Vougioukalakis underlined the need for the balanced protection and exploitation of the island’s natural landscape and geological heritage.
“The uniqueness and exceptional beauty of Santorini’s landscape provides the opportunity to attract, with specially-designed actions, visitors of a high cultural and economic standing throughout the year,” he said, adding however that this should be carried out under a legal framework that regulates visitation and accessibility through the cooperation of central and local authorities and professionals in order to ensure the sustainability of the tourist product while improving the quality of life for Santorini residents.