Greek Tourism Minister Explains Plan for Zakynthos’ Shipwreck Site
Greek Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias elaborated on plans to further develop one of the country’s most popular sites, the Navagio Beach on the Ionian island of Zakynthos, which were outlined in a draft tourism bill tabled in parliament last week.
An amendment included in the bill which foresees the creation of a special five-member committee to be responsible for the preservation and safe management of the famous beach – also known as Shipwreck Beach – caused a stir among opposition parties and local stakeholders.
The protection of Navagio has repeatedly come to the forefront after access to the beach was banned in 2018 following a landslide that injured seven people.
Kikilias reiterated that the legislation was aimed at restoring and upgrading the shipwreck site and addressing age-old problems.
He pledged to resolve in “transparency and effectively” long-standing issues, including safety at the Navagio and to transform the world-famous site into a “sustainable, high-quality tourism product”.
Speaking in parliament on the issue, Kikilias said the ministry was working on reopening the site ensuring in this way that locals can benefit. He admitted that it had suffered damage yet again after recent rainfall. The minister said careful deliberation had gone into the draft with the goal to reopen the site by summer.
“The committee will carry out all kinds of studies and projects exclusively for Shipwreck Beach so that it can be supported, protected, and included in a safety framework so that tourists, visitors and locals can visit,” said Kikilias.
He added that the appointed body would be able to move swiftly through red tape and act as a contracting authority for each project, while ensuring legality and protection of the environment.
A similar announcement had been made last year for the creation of the Zakynthos Shipwreck Management and Operation Agency and in 2019 for the overhaul and the creation of a theme park on the site.