For the past two years, Greece has experienced a surge in tourist numbers, and the threat of overtourism is now on the horizon.

According to a report by Euronews, the capital city Athens, which welcomed over 7 million visitors last year, is expected to see a 20% increase in that number this year. The image of empty streets in Athens during August is thought to be a thing of the past.

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While a thriving tourism industry is generally seen as a positive development, situations of overtourism can negatively impact various aspects of urban life, particularly social life.

As the number of tourists increases, so do foreign exchange inflows and tax revenues, strengthening the country's gross domestic product (GDP).

On the other hand, there are critical voices drawing attention to the threat of overtourism, citing the exceeding of the carrying capacity of tourist areas and inadequate infrastructure.

In cities across Europe that host large numbers of tourists every year, anti-overtourism protests continue, and measures are being taken one after another to tackle this issue.

It can be said that the problem of overtourism, which also affects Athens, has particularly resurged in the past two years.

A few years ago, the country's tourism goal was to attract many tourists and make Athens the final destination. Now that this goal has been achieved, Katerina Kikilia, a Professor of Tourism Management at the University of West Attica, says rules are needed.

"This is an issue of recent years, and Athenians are facing it in their daily lives. The main impact is on society and the environment, but there are also individual effects. The primary issue for society and the state is the housing problem," said Kikilia, noting that many areas of Athens and Attica are "occupied" by tourists.

Kikilia highlighted that while hotel infrastructure has significantly developed in certain regions of the country in recent years, the rest of the infrastructure also needs to be improved. "When it comes to urban areas, the socio-cultural impact is prominent as tourists spread into areas that previously mostly served permanent residences, altering the multifunctional character of the neighborhood," she said.

Editor: Haber Merkezi