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Santorini Mulls Ways to Reduce Summer Congestion

Santorini officials met with Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) representatives to discuss managing the large number of tourists arriving on cruises to the island every summer.
As the Greek island’s infrastructure has struggled mightily to keep up with the volume of tourists, authorities introduced a berth allocation system for cruise ships in 2018, and a maximum number of disembarkations of 8,000 passengers within 24 hours.
The officials discussed the allocation system, the need to distribute arrivals throughout the island and the use of the cable car to relieve the burden of donkeys and mules carrying tourists up the lengthy and twisting stairs from the landing site at the port of Athinios to the road.
Santorini Mayor Nikolaos Zorzos welcomed the CLIA representatives. He said they discussed “challenges our island is facing due to the rising number of tourists especially in terms of cruises.” He also mentioned the promotion of new destinations on the islands for the cruise passengers, including archaeological sites and traditional villages.
Michael Thamm, president of CLIA Europe and CEO of Costa Group and Carnival Asia, said that cruise ship passengers account for one fourth of all annual tourists arriving at Santorini. He stated that the sector would respect the berth allocation system and propose ways of improving it to upgrade the visitor experience.
Distributing arriving passengers to other parts of the island would prevent long waiting times at specific points on the island, such as at the cable car, which affect cruise experiences negatively, Thamm said.
Taking into account the difficulty of Santorini’s topography, such as a limited choice of disembarkation points, cruise officials desire to continue their constructive dialogue with the mayor, Thamm noted, and resolve issues together.
Source: AMNA

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