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Quality Tourism In Greece?


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#1 Pam

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 09:02 PM

In the Crete Gazette this month there was a report of a speech by the minister for Tourism, who stressed the following: "Tourism, especially in Greece, requires three things: quality, quality, quality.” However, what does she mean by this? Does quality mean yet more luxury developments with spas, golf courses and posh bars or luxury villas with pools and barbecues? I think there should still be provision for people who do not want this - students, young people or people like Bob and myself who prefer to find places that are cheap but with character. Last year, Dinny found us an apartment in Matala where the accommodation was fairly basic, but had everything we needed, was clean and comfortable and had a large terrace area with a lovely view of the bay. We've also stayed in a lovely pension in Rethymnon, where our room was rather cramped, but had the most wonderful plant-filled roof terrace and included in the price was a very good breakfast. Not quality, but a real experience.

What do other members think?

#2 Aurora Borealis

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 10:52 PM

I really do agree with you. I do not want the artificially kept tourist scene, as one can experience in other places. I want to feel the real life, as far as it is possible being a tourist. My experience with Greece is Rethymnon (3 times), but compared to "plastic" tourist places in Mallorca, it is heaven. I really like watching the small glimpses of everyday life and real cretan people. Have fallen in love with the Cretan style. No "quality" for me, thank you. The quality for me is the genuinity, and no watered lawns in the dry season of late summer...

#3 Dinny

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 09:47 AM

Well, you don't need the big luxury hotels for quality. But you need some basics to make your holiday one to remember with joy. You need certain things to be efficient: water at all hours, electricity that just works, but most of all clean surroundings without bugs or mice or whatever.



But it seems that the voice of the Greek Minister of Tourist Development is not reaching some parts of Crete. Or maybe no money is accompanying the nice words? Recently, our local 'mayor' (the butcher) was calling on some guys to clean our little village before the season starts. He actually tried that also last year, but since there was no money to pay the guys, no cleaning was done. It will probably be the same this year. So the small streets of Pitsidia will still be full of deep holes, litter and weeds will be everywhere, people only clean in front of their own houses, naturally. And if you try to walk down some of these tiny trails in the night you might risk a broken leg, because there is absolutely no street lights on most of them, you won't be able to see where you put your foot (and into what).



Water, electricity, street lights and cleaning is not something the local pension owner can take care of. He just takes care of his own little 'gold mine'. If quality for tourist development is something more than just empty words, some money should be directed towards the tourist places to take care of this basic development.

#4 Mike &Jane

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 10:18 AM

Could not agree more! We have been coming to Crete since 1993, and while we do appreciate steady improvements in basic infrastructure e.g. plumbing and Chani airport, we have to regret the loss of much of what we come to Crete for. The great thing we allways loved about Crete was that the island had its own life, independent of the tourist trade, which was always just the "jam" on the bread and butter of the island economy. We have no objections in priciple to the big self contained tourist developments, where holidaymakers can spend their 14 days or so without really having to interact with local life and the visitors could be anywhere in the world with a warm climate and a beach. To some extent we thought this something of a good thing as it kept them from overrunning the rest of the island.
O.K. I admit this comes from a somewhat selfish point of view, as we have always had to operate on restricted budgets, and the more "unspoiled" the island remained the more fun per Drachma/Euro we could have. I suspect that what is meant by "quality tourism" is the highest possible "value added" per visitor, translated as Spend. I cannot blame anyone for wanting to improve their living standards, and maximising their income, but this is inevitably at the expense of the character of the island.
Two examples:
1)in 1993 we came across a small taverna in the old village above Platanias, to which we returned over several years, watching it grow into a two storey establishment, the entertainment becoming more raucous "Greek Nights",the friendly family staff replaced by "professional 'Greek Waiters'", and the proprietor evolving into a chain-smoking, stressed out character who seemed to be due a heart attack before his 40th birthday:
2) Almirida, I'm sure everybody who is buying property there is getting what they want, but it isn't Crete!
(Sorry about all the exclamation marks!)

I just hope that Cretans can hold onto the character of the island and themselves, and realise that quality of life is not measured in BMWs.

(bit of a diatribe - sorry - Sunday mornings eh, still back in Kalives on May15th, to chill out.)

#5 Tim

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 12:12 PM

There is a dilema here. I certainly don't wish to see Cretans restricted to low incomes but the reality is that the attractiveness of the mass tourism euro results in many places becoming less attractive to some of us.
I am sure all of us who have been going to Crete for any length of time have seen enourmous change, much of which we have appreciated (though I rather enjoyed those almost predictable bangs on the mountainside as an electric sub station blew and the subsequent rapid deployment of huricane lamps in tavernas). Certainly most of the roads are very much better, but that brings in more people to our quiet corners - and the days of queueing up to use the one phone in Plakias are a distant memory!
I guess that we all have points at which we find the 'improvements' mean that the nature of a place changes too much for our own liking. I am afraid, and I never thought I would say it, that I now find myself not too bothered about booking my next trip, it may be this year, it may be next. Prevously I couldn't sleep unless I had my next lot of flights booked.
I think future trips will be more to see old friends rather than the country. I still know of a few places that are relatively untouched, places that attract travellers rather than tourists if I can put it that way. My few euros will at least go to Cretans, much of the profits from tourism may, to the ministers annoyance, leave the country.
The other thing that inclines me to travel less is the sheer hassle of travel these days. I recognise though that I am very fortunate, I live in a very attractive part of my own country with some of the best Britain has to offer all easlily within a two hour max drive. I seriously think that, when you put the hassle of overseas travel together with the costaisation (you now what I mean!) of many locations, holidaying at home- and especially with warming climates - becomes a greater threat to foreign travel.(well especially for old sods like me!)
I am very glad that I discovered Crete many years ago and not now.
Tim

#6 Wim

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 03:03 PM

L'histoire se répète ou :rolleyes: continué..
I remember this issue being extensively discussed or talked over both in the Crete Gazette as well as on this forum. Bligh me, I don't mind, but it seems such a waste of emotions. Mind you if I still know what topic. Must have been in one, or two or three..of the thousands... :blink: But I stick to my opinion I had at that moment about "quality". :D

B)
True is that adage: "He who yields to rule by wooden heads, becomes himself a fool."

#7 antreas

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Posted 25 June 2007 - 09:26 PM

I study Tourism in the University.It's what I've always wanted to do in my life.
I love to meet people from other countries and just understand their cultures.My own opinion about Crete is that,tourists like the Cretan lifestyle,the way people behave,there's a natural way in everything,even between cretans and tourist.What Crete needs is,people that are educated and give some fresh ideas.There are some staff that need to change.Some responsible people to lead the way and let the locals just follow,without influence the whole Cretan behavior...
Antreas.

#8 yannis_s

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Posted 26 June 2007 - 08:40 AM

Antreas,
please remove the advertisement link from your signature or you will be banned. This forum has rules ( http://members.explo...?act=boardrules ) and they apply to everyone, especially those studying in universities, because their education should make them more responsible for their actions.
Yannis Samatas
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#9 antreas

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Posted 26 June 2007 - 09:59 AM

Dear moderator Jannis
To be honest I havent read the rules.
I've erased the signature,but I find no reason in doing that.We are in a free market and everybody should be free to advertise their own goods.I know what your answer will be(about the private site page,e.t.c.) but I still don't get along with it.It's not only about you,it's about the market in general.And maybe it could be better if you could sent me a private message instaid of posting that in the forum...
Anyway,your site is one of the best I've reached out in the internet and I do not wish to get banned.Keep up the good work and when you are able answer on my privious answer.(about the quality of tourist in Krete..)
Antreas.

#10 Nita

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Posted 26 June 2007 - 01:12 PM

Quote from Antreas: What Crete needs is,people that are educated

Excuse me, and I appreciate I've come in at the end of this lengthy topic, and just now it's too hot (here in Crete at least) to read the previous postings. Are you seriously suggesting that the Cretan people are not educated? Yes, very possibly many don't have a university degree but is a degree actually necessary in order to be wise and possess a knowledge no number of years at University can provide?

One of the main attractions, for me at least, of Crete is it's people, and was one of the main reasons I came here to live. Their hospitality, kindness and wisdom gained from a troubled history is hard to find elsewhere. For me the inference that they are an uneducated people is offensive.

#11 antreas

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Posted 26 June 2007 - 02:12 PM

First of all.
I'm Cretan.Both father and mother come from Crete.I'm Very proud of being Cretan and I have a job over there.You havent understnad what I have said...
I'll give an example.2years ago I worked in a famous 5star hotel.The manager of the hotel was a guy that couldnt even speak English.Half of the people that were working there,quit their jobs before the summer season ended.All you could see was sad faces.THAT'S WRONG.
We need educated people to show us the steps.the way to treat in surrent situations.I already said that I love the Creatan natural way,I'm like that also.That's what tourist love about us.BUT there are staff that we should seriously consider to improve your quality.
I hope I made myself clear this time.
Antreas.

#12 Pam

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Posted 27 June 2007 - 12:43 PM

Thanks all for your responses and I do agree that improvements in water, electricity supply etc are welcome (though, like Tim I sometimes miss the electricity cuts, which all the locals seemed well prepared for). However, I do not like the big all-inclusive hotels, which I don't believe contribute much to the isladnd's economy anyway. I would never stay in one myself - all we ask is a clean, fairly spacious couple of rooms with cooking facilities and a pleasant outside space to sit, though as we get older a comfortable sofa or chairs to sit on would be welcome! As long as quality means providing these facilities as well as the more luxurious facilities that some people want, that's fine, but too often quality only means providing such luxury accommodation and that's my problem with it.

Pam

#13 Laid Back Lil

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Posted 27 June 2007 - 04:05 PM

Hi Pam. I've got to agree with you - I do not like All Inclusive massive hotels either! A long time back we went to a beautiful All In 5* all-singing-all-dancing hotel and it was absolutely the bees-knees - I ended up in hospital and was out there for 3 weeks! Our experience of All-Ins has not been good despite going top of the range as far as money could be saved during the year for such. Another fab hotel in Turkey - and we both got severe tummy upsets lasting about 10 days in all (and trips and tests at the hospital). Another fab All-In in Morocco - I was ill for 2 days, hubby and middle child for 2 weeks. Beautiful hotel in the Dom Republic and again, extreme illness there - actually mine lasting over a year - contracted nasty disease! And so, we changed our holiday habits - before we bought our own place - went to the Greek islands for our summer holidays, always just rented a self-catering apartment or rooms, didn't bother to cook, found a small taverna where we would tell the owner that no matter what time in the morning, we would arrive for breakfast every day of our stay. Found small restaurants and usually family-run ones were the better. Service was always and I mean always excellent to the point that many a time we would sit with the owners and share a bottle of wine after they had finished work. None of us have suffered tummy upsets doing it this way and we've all enjoyed our holiday far more. We also never went on any trips with the reps, we always went into the village or town and used the local people for trips and excursions.
There's a lot of down-sides to All-Ins, mainly they cannot cater for the amount of people in the hotel foodwise and no money (or at least not a lot of it) goes into the villages and towns surrounding the hotel. People tend to spend the whole week or two just in the hotels and unfortunately shop-keepers, tourist agents and such are being starved of making a decent living out of the tourists and the big guys are raking it in at the hotels.
I believe if you are polite, and smile and take time to talk to whoever is serving you, you will more than likely get more-than-good service.

#14 antreas

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Posted 29 June 2007 - 11:24 PM

I agree with you :P
Antreas.

#15 Wim

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 10:47 AM

Gov't sets priority on cave tourism.

The government has set a priority on boosting cave tourism, a rich natural resource in Greece, yet relatively untapped, the deputy tourism development minister, Anastasios Liaskos, said on Monday.
Opening the World Tourism Conference, Liaskos said cave tourism was a type of alternative travel authorities hoped to attract that could also form part of a holiday package.
About 10,000 caves have been found in Greece so far, with around 100 deemed suitable for use in tourism. Work had been done on about 20 making them fit for immediate use, Liaskos said.
Sector authorities want to increase the number of caves accessible to tourists. Those currently accessible host about a million domestic and foreign visitors a year, he added.
The conference ends on August 27.

Financial news from the Greek Ambassy in The Hague.

B)
True is that adage: "He who yields to rule by wooden heads, becomes himself a fool."

#16 Ton

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 01:06 PM

Wim, I am wandering if any caves can also be found on the mountains of garbage which keep pilling up allover Greece. Both the deputy tourism Minister and the Minister should focus on finding solutions to clean up the mess before they advertise in the Opening of the World Tourism Conference about caves in Greece to attract tourist Euros. Mind you the real caves might proved to be the last resource of people fleeing there to avoid typhoids and Holera or something.

#17 Emma1310

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 02:20 PM

The end may be in sight Ton. The garbage collectors are back at work in Athens, just in time for tourist season!
Now is the time for drinking, now the time to beat the earth with unfettered foot.

#18 Wim

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Posted 18 March 2008 - 07:53 PM

Always look at the bright sight of life!

B)
True is that adage: "He who yields to rule by wooden heads, becomes himself a fool."

#19 Wim

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Posted 23 March 2008 - 04:08 PM

Something to think about!? When discussing "quality"?

http://www.turparad.com/

:(
True is that adage: "He who yields to rule by wooden heads, becomes himself a fool."