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San Giacomo Association brings topic of overtourism and carrying capacity to the table

San Giacomo Cultural Association
29 Sep 2023 / 18:49

CORFU. At the event organised on Wednesday by San Giacomo Cultural Association and Athens Plaka Residents Committee.

The event organised on Wednesday 27 September by the San Giacomo Cultural Association and the Athens Plaka Residents Committee on "Tourism, Carrying Capacity and Local Communities" was of great interest.

The audience filled the Ionian University History Department Amphitheatre and watched with great interest the excellent presentations of the guests either live or via internet.

More specifically, Ms. Eleni Maistrou, architect, Emeritus Professor at the National Technical University of Athens and president of the Hellenic Environment and Cultural Heritage Society's Architectural Heritage Council, referred to the problems created by overtourism in historic urban areas, focusing on Corfu; Mr. Giorgos Zafiriou, architect and Athens Plaka Residents Committee President, presented the current situation experienced by the residents of the historic Plaka; Mr. Kostas Tsoumanis, Ph.D. Tourism Economics, raised the issue of the transition from yesterday's spontaneous development to a sustainable tourism; and Mr. Nikos Triantos, Electrical Engineer and member of the San Giacomo Cultural Association, addressed the issue of an area's carrying capacity.

Mr. Stathis Kalivas, Professor of Political Science at the Oxford University and Mr. Marco Gasparinetti, Venice Municipal Councillor, representative of the "Gruppo 25 Aprile" citizens' organisation and President of the Network of Citizens' Organisations of Historic Cities of Southeastern Mediterranean, made online presentations.

Photo: San Giacomo Cultural Association

This was followed by speeches by the heads or representatives of the parties in the upcoming elections, representatives of bodies and citizens, as well as discussion with intense concern and interest, but also with the common realisation that the problem of overtourism is worsening, and that measures are needed so that Corfu Town and the island in general can be sustainable for residents and visitors. Common in many of the speeches was the great importance of political will and strong pressure from citizens, as well as the pursuit of partnerships and synergies to maximise effectiveness.

The aim of the San Giacomo Association was both to bring this issue to the table, on which there has been no discussion to date, and to address the issue of carrying capacity on which there is a lack of information and different opinions since it is a complex issue affecting different professional and social groups.

Thus, the Association appears satisfied with the bodies and citizens' response to the event, as well as the interesting discussion and the views expressed.

It also made clear that the issue of overtourism and carrying capacity has just been opened and will continue, after the elections, with actions, dialogue and partnerships for a better town, for a more sustainable Corfu.

The San Giacomo Association would like to thank the speakers for their participation which was crucial for the success of the event, the Ionian University for offering the amphitheatre and the sponsors for their kind offer.

The presentations of the speakers will soon be posted on the Association's website for those interested.

Photo: Enimerosi