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Cretan call for help

Last-minute travellers are hurting not helping Crete<.>`s tourism industry, local entrepreneurs claim in a letter they have forwarded to Greek Premier Costas Simitis

Last-minute travellers are hurting not helping Crete<.>`s tourism industry, local entrepreneurs claim in a letter they have forwarded to Greek Premier Costas Simitis.

In his letter, industry representative Constantine Bandouvas noted that the sector has been in crisis for a number of years but that, since 1985, it has almost exclusively relied on the custom of last-minute tourists – in both good and bad periods.

It`s obvious that the last-minute traveller is not the best option – in economic terms at least, he stated in the letter. A lack of planning means that local operators must drastically reduce their rates, so that they can, at least, attract this type of tourist.

As a result, the national economy is affected by this low level of foreign exchange income while the island`s natural environment also suffers.

But, worst of all, high-calibre tourists are discouraged, or even totally avoid the island, considering it a cheap, last-minute holiday choice.


Bandouvas said that, although Crete represents one of the main pillars of democracy and the quality of life in Greece, it has been abandoned by the state over the last two decades. He pointed out that public works had been left unfinished, among them a road link on which construction began in 1974. Bandouvas noted that the Iraklio airport had been built decades ago for the needs of the time and that now, passengers were made to feel as if they were entering a developing country.

Public awareness campaigns and educational programmes in schools are needed if Crete is to rid itself of the piles of rubbish which litter the landscape and coastline, Bandouvas pointed out.

He said the government should encourage the construction of high-quality tourist accommodation on the island – and shut down substandard units, press for the merging of rented apartments, implement the hotel star-rating system and modernise the airport.

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