Avlaki beach in Porto Rafti is shutdown due to overcrowding

Avlaki beach in Porto Rafti
Avlaki beach in Porto Rafti
Avlaki beach in Porto Rafti

Avlaki beach in Porto Rafti has been shutdown for 15 days, after an inspection found more bathers than allowed on the municipal organised beach.

This comes as July 1, tourism in Greece will "open" as international arrivals will be allowed to enter from all airports in the country.

The organised beach of Avlaki of the Municipality of Markopoulo Mesogaias, is one of the favourite destinations for swimming in the region of Attica.

According to Athens Voice, operations at the beach have been suspended for 15 days and the municipality was fined €7,000.

Three beach bars were also suspended for 15 days and fined €5,000 each, as it was found that they did not adhere to the safe distances between the sun beds.

Another restaurant in the area was also inspected and fined € 10,000 as they were serving more customers than allowed in the square metre rule.

On Saturday, May 16, following meteorological and Covid-19 pandemic data, including the recommendation of the Infectious Diseases Committee at the Health Ministry, organised beaches in Greece reopened.

It is recalled that last month, Greece was ranked second in the world for the Blue Flag quality award list of beaches, marinas and sustainable tourism boats.

With 497 award-winning beaches, 14 marinas and 6 sustainable tourism boats, Greece ranked second – after Spain in first place – among 47 countries.

The announcement of the results was made public by the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature (HSPN). It should be noted that this year, amongst all the countries participating in the program, Greece made up 13% of the total number of beaches awarded by the program this year.

Like last year, most of Greece’s Blue Flags (94), went to beaches in Halkidiki, northern Greece.

“The Blue Flag program has a special significance for Greek tourism,” Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis said. “Apart from confirming the high quality services offered in Greece’s beaches, marinas and tourism boats, this year, Blue Flags symbolise our desire and willingness to return to normality,” he added.

The Blue Flag Program is a world-renowned eco-label trusted by millions around the globe and is operated under the auspices of the Foundation for Environmental Education, headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark. In order to qualify for this prestigious award, a series of stringent environmental, educational, safety-related and access-related criteria must be met and maintained. Through close collaboration with their members, the Foundation for Environmental Education works to ensure the programme’s expansion, and that the unrivalled standards of the Blue Flag are maintained internationally.

Furthermore, the Greek National Tourism Organisation (GNTO) sees Greece’s ranking as an additional way to promote Greece: “With the Blue Flag recognition, this year, Greek tourism can offer an excellent combination of nature and high-quality services to Greek citizens and international travellers: Natural beauty, variety of locations, health and environmental safety in Greek seas and beaches. This is the image that the GNTO wishes to promote.”