The outgoing mayor of Samothrace, Athanasios Vitsas, is calling on all decision-makers to immediately move ahead with funding and actions including upgrading the infrastructure on the island which recently saw its incoming tourism dwindle due to a lacking ferry service.
Measures and pledges aside, investments on the island must be immediate, Vitsas told Praktoreio FM following an extraordinary meeting on Monday, attended by Shipping Minister Yiannis Plakiotakis, Tourism Minister Haris Theoharis, Infrastructure and Transport Minister Kostas A. Karamanlis and Interior Minister Takis Theodorikakos, overseen by Minister of State George Gerapetritis.
Vitsas called for investments in port infrastructure, which include, he said, “actually implementing the plans and studies carried out as part of the master plan… a set of studies addressing all port problems, which are many. This project must be funded”.
According to the remote island’s mayor, the priority should be on expanding port facilities so that bigger ships can approach and dock.
Vitsas added that due to the size of the current port, larger ships are unable to approach, “which has forced us to bring on smaller vessels failing in this way to create free market conditions in order to open to competition”, he said.
Moreover, Vitsas went on to note that the ongoing disruption to transportation to and from Samothrace at the peak of the summer season had caused “irreversible damage to the island’s businesses”, adding that the ferry operator – currently under its 10th contract – was solely responsible.
It should be reminded, that there was no access to Samothrace for 9 days earlier this month after two ferries serving the island broke down leaving dozens of travelers stranded. August is the main month for tourist arrivals to the island, the mayor said, adding that businesses will most likely be unable to recover lost revenue due to cancellations.