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Greece Travel Experts React to Proposed Cap on Cruisers to Santorini

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© Getty Images View of the volcano near Santorini island, Greece. (Photo via Olga_Gavrilova / iStock Editorial / Getty Images Plus)

By Joe Pike, TravelPulse

In an effort to reduce the amount of garbage on the Greek island of Santorini, island officials are looking to impose limits on cruise arrivals, according to a The Wall Street Journal report published last week.

This week, TravelPulse brings you the opinions of three Greece specialists about the ongoing pollution problem on Santorini, whether the proposed limits are a good idea and why so many travelers continue to flock to the destination.

Here’s what we found.

“Litter will always be an issue in Greece, and in other countries during the summer months when the tourists are flocking to and fro,” said George Andritsakis, a senior travel consultant with AAA who is based in Clearfield, Utah. “The cleanup and disposal falls directly on the shoulders of the local government.”

According to The Wall Street Journal report, Santorini will cap daily cruise arrivals at 8,000, beginning next year.

“I am not surprised that the mayor wants to limit tourists and I think that putting some limits on the number of visitors is essential if Santorini is to be enjoyed by vacationers and tourists in the future,” said Alex Scipione of Alex’s Adventures in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania. “That being said, this is not an easy thing to do considering the demand and also not wanting to drive people away.”

According to The Wall Street Journal report and the agents we spoke to, the problem is intensified by the roughly 4,000 daily arrivals of visitors on Greek passenger vessels, mostly from Crete.

“If the local government wants to take action, they should also target the ferries and airline arrivals as well,” said Andritsakis, noting that he thinks it's the people who are on the island for a longer duration than cruisers who are the real problem, as far as garbage accumulation goes.

Jolie Goldring, a luxury travel consultant with In the Know Experiences in New York City, told TravelPulse Santorini’s tourism volume has grown over the years due to the growing party scene on neighboring islands.

“Santorini has always seen viewed as a honeymoon must-visit or uber romantic spot for couples,” said Goldring. “Only recently, with exposure from Instagram on the major increase in partying on neighboring islands like Mykonos, have I noticed the demand for similar parties in traditionally quieter spots like Santorini. That, coupled with day-tripping cruisers, can lead to overcrowding and less authentic travel experiences.”

Although Santorini and other parts of the country may have issues of pollution and overcrowding, agents like Andritsakis told TravelPulse it hasn’t cost them any business.

“I’ve had no complaints from any of my clients on any trip to Greece,” said Andritsakis. “Most of them come back saying they can't wait to return, and a few have even ventured further around Greece and now have summer residences there.”

So what’s the appeal of Santorini and why do people go there?

“Santorini is one of the most picturesque destinations that has space on many people’s bucket lists,” said Scipione. “It is a stop for many cruisers on their Mediterranean itineraries.”

According to The Wall Street Journal report, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) says cruises contributed $626 million to the Greek economy last year, with around 15 percent going to Santorini.

“We need to ask ourselves," said Scipione, "'What can the visitors, residents, travel companies and stakeholders do to work together to preserve this piece of paradise while continuing to have the destination's profits flourish?"

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Travel - U.S. Daily News: Greece Travel Experts React to Proposed Cap on Cruisers to Santorini
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