Santorini is limiting visitors in 2019
In case you missed it - Santorini is limiting visitors in 2019!
The magical and beautiful island of Santorini, Greece will be limiting tourists to the island in 2019. That is seriously unfortunate, as Santorini is nearly on every persons bucket list in the world and is often known as having some of the world’s best sunsets. And while the summer season is the busiest and warmest time of the year (Avg. temps in July and August routinely reach over 90 degrees Fahrenheit / 32 C), the island gets more than half of its two million tourists in June, July and August alone…..that’s a lot of people.
Additionally, the Wall Street Journal was reporting that on some days during the summer months, more than 18,000 visitors per day roamed the city streets of Santorini. An island that is only 73 square kilometers and only 28 square miles. That’s more than the entire population of the island! As of 2011 (the last census taken on the island) there were only 15,500 residents. That is crazy….I mean, imagine living there and there and you see more tourists than residents!
With Santorini being Greece’s most popular island some residents claim all of the foot traffic, swimming and traversing of the island is wrecking some of the history, ecology and even footpaths built into the side of the island. Causing alarm among residents who cannot fix things as fast as they are being destroyed. Not to mention the island’s port is being overrun with too many cruise ships. Large, massive ships can’t even dock in Santorini, yet still sail around the magical island or will anchor just outside the harbor to get a nice view of the sunset. All of which is causing some severe frustrations for local residents.
According to a recent report in the Wall Street Journal, some local island officials say they have seen enough. “The island is saturated, we can’t handle any more tourists,” Mayor Zoros told Wall St. -
But, even on some days in the summer, the island appeared to be just fine….like this incredible photo we took on our Greece trip in 2018.
What will happen in 2019?
So, whether or not the island is being overrun by tourists or is actually just fine, beginning 2019, the island will cap cruise arrivals at 8,000, hoping to curb a flow of day travelers the Mayor said, which is putting too much strain on infrastructure and supplies. Meaning, not enough people are staffed to handle all of the cruise ships, not enough hotels are open, and not enough restaurants are able to feed a daily influx of 18,000 people.
The move has caused a negative reaction from cruise operators and business owners who say this move would affect their economic situation and that the island to do more to accommodate the crowds, like open more businesses and work longer hours and to provide more accommodations for interested travelers.
“The electricity grid and water supply are at their limit. Garbage has doubled in five years, if we don’t control the crowds it will backfire,” Mr. Zoros said.
Source: Wall Street Journal**
We all know Santorini is a beautiful island, but there is a clear dilemma here. The Mayor, who represents the people, feels as if the island is being victimized by the sheer amount of tourists coming to its shores. But, the tourists are benefitting the islands economy by bringing hundreds, if not millions of dollars to the local businesses and tour operators there, so what’s to be done?
In short, people will never stop visiting Santorini. Whether it’s limited to 8,000 people a day or 800, people will still flock to see the world’s best sunset in Oia and will want to bask in the warm afterglow of those late summer nights while sipping on a cocktail. Santorini itself has too much to offer. The locals are so nice and there is so much to do! From hiking, ATV’ing, swimming, snorkeling or going on a sunset catamaran cruise, there is never a dull moment on the island. Even if you think 18,000 people is a lot for one tiny island, there is always room to find a breath of fresh air.
So, what do you think?
Whether or not you side with the Greeks on this one, one question persists…social media’s ability to uncover, discover and unravel a plethora of ‘secret’ destinations and put them on the map is insane. Is any place truly safe from being the next Santorini?
Let us know what you think of this debacle and be sure to comment down below as a guest!
We’d love to hear your thoughts! Be sure to check out the images of the tour down below as well as the recap video.