After five episodes focusing on Santorini, I now take a step back and take a look at overtourism on a European scale. Dr. Antonio Paolo Russo shares his expertise on the problem, telling us that there is still a long way to go before effective policies are put into place at the European level. So, could we do anything to solve the problem, as European citizens who love to travel? I invited my friends Lea & Melissa to share their points of view.
In this episode, we talk about responsibility. Who should act to save Santorini? What are politicians doing? Who even cares? When activists are doing most of the work voluntarily and without much resources, when municipalities are blocked by national governments, when investors are still building hotels in protected areas and individuals think saving Santorini is a lost battle, the island is certainly in need of a strong and collective movement to guarantee its sustainability.
What happened to authenticity? When people start comparing some areas of Santorini with Disneyland, it is not a good sign. This episode is about the impact that overtourism has on the local culture of Santorini. Locals highlight how important is to share with tourists the true richness of the island, for them to learn about its culture, its past, its traditions, its arts and crafts, its music, its essence. We also learn about the damage tourism has on the social fabric of Santorini, and how locals try to keep a sense of belonging to the island.
What’s the actual impact of over-tourism on the environment of Santorini? In this episode, activists, politicians and locals sound the alarm on the disaster created with the progressive loss of natural land and the pollution of its waters. The endless growth of Santorini is stretching the island’s capacity and resources far beyond their limits.
“Everyone will get something from her, but no one will love her.” As tourist arrivals keep growing and attain dramatic numbers, the quality of life on the island is negatively impacted. How do inhabitants deal with the presence of tourists on a daily basis? Is there even a choice, now that the tourism industry is what feeds the whole island?
How did Santorini get here? How did this once small and quiet island become the host of millions of tourists every year? Sharing their archives and memories, locals tell us about the rapid transformation that Santorini experiences, and how the focus on tourists might have become a bit excessive.