Why Greece’s most ‘Instagrammable’ island is becoming a worry

Screen Shot 2019 06 07 at 3.58.49 pm

Screen Shot 2019 06 07 at 3.58.49 pm

Santorini, one of the world’s most popular destinations and Greece’s most famous island now holds a new title, as it has become the country’s most ‘Instagrammable’ spot, with over 5.2 million posts with the tag #Santorini, people from all around the world are now coming to this breathtaking Cycladic isle for the sheer reason of posting a photo on their Instagram account.

In a recent article in The Economist, titled 'The Worrying Future of Greece’s Most Instagrammable Island' journalist Jessica Bateman wrote, “If ever a place felt like it was made for Instagram, it is Santorini. The southernmost island in Greece’s Cycladic region, it is famous for its expansive sunsets and blue and white domed churches, both of which have become a common backdrop on many an influencer’s feed. Its dramatic cliff-face – actually a crater formed from a devastating volcanic eruption in 1600 BC– is almost guaranteed to make first-time visitors gasp and whip out their smartphones.”

Unlike other destinations in Greece and worldwide, Santorini no longer needs any kind of promotion, with the island now turning back tourists and trying to limit the daily cruises which have thousands of visitors flocking to the island over the peak summer season trying to get a great shot of the famous Caldera and Santorini sunset.

“Santorini has very unique geography that people want to photograph immediately,” the island’s deputy mayor told Loukas Bellonias told The Economist.

“Social media has turned [it] from just another travel destination into one of the most popular in the world.” He says that during the summer months, mobile phone companies struggle to provide enough coverage for the thousands of people uploading images.

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A recent report on over tourism by the European Union’s transport committee warned that Santorini is failing to manage the increasing numbers of tourists, spelling disaster for the local community and environment, and putting “the future of the destination at risk.”

According to reports, some two million people visited Santorini in 2018 and locals say there were days when up to 18,000 visitors on cruise ships alone were seen disembarking at the island’s port, which is a high number considering that only about 15,000 people actually live on the island.

*Video by The Economist 

In fact, some local island officials said they have seen enough.

“The island is saturated, we can’t handle any more tourists,” Mayor Nikos Zorzos told Wall St.

In April this year, Santorini officials also met with Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) representatives to discuss managing the massive number of tourists who arrive daily on the island every summer, making the island’s systems and infrastructure increasingly hard to handle due to the large volume.

The locals' main concern is that the overcrowding doesn't allow tourists to have a wonderful experience on the stunning island, which once offered pure serenity and tranquility for its visitors.

Time will only tell what the future holds in terms of tourism numbers, however, one thing will never change and that is the breathtaking natural beauty that Santorini is known for.