In efforts to keep the inflow of tourists to Santorini at sustainable levels, the Greek government is examining a series of measures tabled by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) which include issuing tickets during peak season for visits to the popular village of Oia.
According to Greek daily Kathimerini, besides the e-tickets, EBRD proposals include placing a cap on cruise ship disembarkations, restricting the leasing period for Airbnb-style rentals, revising the island’s spatial plan, as well as introducing a new waste-management system to include plastic-free regulations.
The six strategic priorities, drawn up in collaboration with local stakeholders and experts, with the support of the tourism ministry and funded by the European Union, are aimed at developing a sustainable tourism model for Santorini, which is among the world’s most visited destinations.
Key areas of focus coined “quick wins” and aimed at improving the visitor experience, the quality of life on the island, and ensuring sustainable growth include revising business supply hours, expanding pedestrianized areas, promoting other areas of the island, restricting home-sharing by individual proprietors and companies, ensuring affordable housing for residents, cruise ship visitor management within set time slots, improving public transport, creating events in lesser-known areas, removing illegal signs, creating footpaths and hiking trails, and developing agritourism experiences.
“We have been in constant consultation with the tourism minister and his staff since September in order to draw up the action plan, identify priorities, set a timetable for project implementation, and allocate responsibilities,” Thira’s new mayor, Antonis Sigalas, told Kathimerini.
Sigalas described the effort as a “government priority and of particular interest to the prime minister” and as such involves several ministries, “each of which has committed to implement a set project”. He went on to note that the municipality was moving ahead with the creation of a destination management organization (DMO).