Mykonos Island (Greece) suffers from influx of cruise ship tourists

   June 29, 2023 ,   Cruise Industry

Greece's Mykonos Island is struggling with a significant increase in cruise ship calls, resulting in overcrowding and straining the island's infrastructure. Large-capacity liners bring thousands of tourists daily to Port Mykonos, causing congestion and chaos as they flock to the largest settlement Chora Town.

Recently, the situation escalated when five cruise ships docked side by side, resembling a massive parking lot. According to the Hellenic Ports Association, an astonishing 895 cruise ships are expected to visit Mykonos and the nearby Delos Island this year, a notable increase from the 608 ships in 2022. In June alone, 131 ships are scheduled to visit Mykonos.

Santorini Island is also witnessing a surge in cruisers, with an estimated total of 753 ships expected in 2023 compared to 686 in 2022. In June, Santorini anticipates 112 ships.

However, the real challenge lies ahead as the peak tourist season approaches in August. On August 22nd, Mykonos is preparing for the arrival of 8 ships, bringing ~3500 passengers who will disembark at 8 am. By the end of the day, an astonishing 15000 new tourists will have inundated the island, equivalent to the population of the entire Thira municipality.

The influx of tourists has revealed the island's inadequate infrastructure to handle such a large number of visitors. Mina Lyristis (South Aegean regional councilor and Mykonos resident) points out that the problem goes beyond the volume of tourists. The lack of facilities, including public toilets and other amenities at the port, cannot accommodate passengers from nine cruise ships simultaneously. Lyristis, as a resident, has personally experienced the consequences of over-tourism in Mykonos.

The impact of thousands of tourists descending upon the island simultaneously is evident in scenes of chaos. Whether arriving in organized groups with tour guides or independently seeking coffee and exploring Chora, the sheer number of people overwhelms the island. Lyristis emphasizes that this situation hinders tourists' ability to fully enjoy their stay due to overcrowding and restricts local employees' capacity to provide adequate service to all guests.

The challenges faced by Mykonos and other popular Greek isles highlight the need for careful planning and investment in infrastructure to accommodate the growing tourism industry. Without proper measures in place, the charm of these stunning destinations may be overshadowed by the negative consequences of over-tourism.