What's it about

Crete's southern coast is one of the most beautiful and unspoiled landscapes in Greece and the Mediterranean. Considerably less densely populated than the northern coast, it provides wonderful, breathtaking nature with a few special sights like the Samaria Gorge for example. Unlike the mass tourism on the northern coast, it mainly attracts individual tourists who like the family run
tourist infrastructure. In addition to tourism, agriculture is the other important source of income.

Just as in the north, it is intended to also get economic developments off the ground at the south coast: The establishment of huge hotel complexes- it is currently planned to build a hotel with 2000 beds near Trio Petra/Akóumia- as well as other big projects.  Although building plans for a harbour suitable for containers had to be stopped in 2009 due to the massive protest of the local residents, these plans have come into focus again due to economic difficulties in Greece. The reason behind this is, that Greece is strongly soliciting foreign investments- in this case Chinese investments- even if the price for this will be the flogging of the "family silver“ meaning   "privatization" as required by international  investors. The spokesperson of the action group from Kalamaki obviously had a hunch what would happen and now has happened, when in 2010 he commented on the stop in the magazine "Spiegel“: This only means that the project will not be built in the form as planned. It does not mean that the plans for building the harbour have been completely abandoned. We will stay vigilant. “Der Spiegel, No 34/2010")

It is intended that beaches will be privatised for the hotels or closed to the general public. The population in the north has in the meantime expressed criticism of such developments. Resistance is growing in the south as well. Projects of this type will have a huge negative effect on the character of the southern coast.

There will be ecological problems: where will the huge hotel get its water from for example? So far Crete has not had any problems with water. Geological reports clearly state that the Cretan water reservoirs are insufficient for the planned consumption.

However the dangers for the economy are much more serious. The biggest problem is the dependence on one business, a group: where – as up to now – instead of 10 or 20 taverns and small hotels, there will in the future just be one large hotel, which belongs to a group, making the people dependent on this company. The old tourists won't come any more. And the new package tourists
could be diverted to new destinations by the companies. If that doesn't happen next year, it will be the year after. Or in 3 years’ time. The people in Crete will no longer be able to influence this.

The situation in Spain or certain parts of Crete's northern coast shows what can be caused by too much money and too little consideration of the consequences of planning. Crete's southern coast must be protected against that.

"The sea, the beaches and our countryside are our whole existence. We live from them. Privatising beaches means taking them away from us, our guests and the general public. The investors will profit from it. We don't want any mega projects here like they have on the northern coast; they have not brought any decent benefits there. We are fighting to retain the character of our home and for our very existence. And we are also fighting for the future of our children."

Pavlos Kakogiannakis, Taverne Pavlos, Trio Petra
Spokesperson for the action group