Cap on cruise ship visits to popular Greek islands proposed to tackle overtourism

Cruise lines face restrictions on the number of ship calls to popular Greek islands in a bid to combat overtourism.

A proposal to cap the number of visits could be introduced as early as next year.

Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis reportedly suggested that the number of berths could be reduced or establishing a bidding process for cruise lines to gain anchoring slots.

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He highlighted Mykonos and Santorini as the islands that are “clearly suffering” the most.

Almost 750 calls were made by ships into Mykonos last year, a rise of 23% over 2022.

The number of calls into Santorini reached 800, delivering almost 1.3 million visitors, making the island the most popular cruise ship destination in Greece.

“Santorini is the most sensitive, Mykonos will be second,” the prime minister reportedly told Bloomberg.

The high volume of vessels calling into Santorini, home to just 15,000 residents, may not bring commensurate economic benefit despite receiving 5.5 million tourists a year.

“There are people spending a lot of money to be on Santorini and they don’t want the island to be swamped. Plus the island can’t afford it, even in terms of security,” Mitsotakis said.

His comments, reported by the Telegraph on Saturday, come amid fears that tourists will be dissuaded from visiting Greece’s more popular islands because the experience will be ruined if they become too overcrowded.


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