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Saturated Greek island of Santorini calls for a ceiling on tourism

Santorini is par excellence the beauty of the Aegean Sea. launched the alarm and wants to set a ceiling on annual visits, emulating in a certain way the Balearics.

Athens, Sep 2 (EFE) .- Santorini is par excellence the beauty of the Aegean. volcanic pearl has thrown the alarm and wants to put a ceiling on the annual visits, emulating in a certain way the Balearics.

Permanent jams on roads where cars are interspersed with bikes, trucks and even mules; Santorini has been unable to cope with the exponential growth in the number of permanent inhabitants - from 6,200 in 1971 to 25,000 in the to the arrival of about two million tourists per year.

The natural problems that arise from tourism overdose, such as the astronomical rise in prices in general and of rents in particular, the population suffers from many other difficulties. "We are living under enormous financial pressure. Everything is much more expensive than in the rest of the country, starting with the price of diesel," says Maria Papayanni, director of a small hotel on the island.

Papayanni explains that he pays 450 euros a month for a flat with no heating and feels "privileged" because others pay "up to 800 euros for accommodation in worse condition. "

All this situation has led the island's mayor, Anastasios Sorsos, to introduce a gradual program to put a stop to daily cruise moorings, and to ask to the Ministry of Tourism that declares Santorini to be touristy saturated and to the Ministry of the Environment to prohibit constructions outside the populations.

According to a study of the University of Aegean, the space built in Santorini has reached 15% of the total surface while in the other islands of the Cyclades it is hardly 1%.

The mayor made the the first request in 2015, and has so far received no response.

In the event of a positive response, it could limit hotel capacity - in its view, the two million visits are the maximum bearable - and prevent new companies from offering services to the tourist.

"Our roads can not withstand more traffic. the consumption of natural resources increases beyond its limits, "explains Sorsos to Efe.

But in his opinion, not everything is solved with funds for new infrastructures, because, as he says, extending them entails the risk that the island will lose its beauty and charm.

One of the first measures to address the situation has been to limit the number of daily cruises that can mooring on the island, an initiative that has already begun to function as a pilot program and will be fully operational by 2019.

The aim is to limit to 8,000 daily arrivals Cruise tourists - in the high season they reach 18,000. Hoteliers from Santorini, Manolis Karamolengos, is skeptical about the possibility of declaring the island to be touristy saturated, although recognizes that there are clear problems that

"For that, a detailed study is necessary: ​​the problem is not limited to tourist places, it is also a problem of infrastructure" and of putting a stop to rents private rental, especially to electronic platforms, says Efe.

The so-called rent between individuals is a phenomenon that is beginning to cause strata also in Greece.

According to Karamolengos, electronic rental platforms added 15,000 tourist places to the island, which were used by doctors, teachers, or even employees.

Another problem, he says, is the lack of staff in municipal services, which is detrimental to quality tourism.

"Santorini got its notoriety thanks to quality of tourist business services.

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