Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis announced this week that a bill open for public consultation would pave the way for the reopening to the public of the popular Navagio Beach on the Ionian island of Zakynthos.
Speaking in parliament this week, Theoharis said it was vital the bill be passed into law so that actions are taken immediately in order to protect the shipwreck site, which he said was the second most photographed spot in Greece after the Acropolis.
Describing the Navagio as a “tourism resource of national importance”, Theoharis said the ministry would push forward to resolve deep-seated problems.
Currently, access to the beach is forbidden by both land and sea, by decision of the island’s local authorities.
Opposition parties are claiming a private investment nearby has put plans on hold, something Theoharis denied. Qatari state company Al Rayyan had plans to create among others an “art island” on the islet of Oxia, part of the Echinades group and a 15m2 holiday resort near the shipwreck area.
The minister clarified that coastline use was under state jurisdiction and that the focus was now on maintenance and preservation of the site in order to attract tourists who will generate revenues that will go to the local community.
Late last year, Theoharis tabled an omnibus bill aimed at streamlining actions for the improved promotion and utilization of Greek tourism attractions, including the world-famous Shipwreck Beach.
The legislation outlined the terms for the establishment of the Zakynthos Shipwreck Management and Operation Agency, which will work to promote and protect the tourist attraction, as well as attract investments for further expansion.