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Economy

Unpacking the True Price of a Beach Getaway

ATHENS – As summer approaches with its scorching heat waves, wildfires, and swarms of tourists, the Wall Street Journal offers a savvy tip for those bound for Greece: veer away from the packed islands and opt for the serene beaches of the Athens Riviera.

However, the article fails to mention a critical detail: many Athens beaches are privately owned, with unconstitutional leases granting businesses control over 50 percent of them. These entities often exceed their allotment and even resort to installing turnstiles to block non-paying visitors.

While the Athens Riviera promises respite from the tourist hordes, it comes with a hefty price tag. Savvy locals seek out lesser-known seaside tavernas farther afield, where the cuisine is superior and the prices more modest, sans the overwhelming crowds.

For Greece, tourism is a financial juggernaut, comprising 18-20% of the annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP), equivalent to €202.5 billion ($217.6 billion). In 2023 alone, the sector raked in over €20 billion ($21.49 billion).

As the government grapples with the challenges of over-tourism and strained island infrastructure, it concurrently woos foreign investors to develop more resorts and claim additional stretches of coastline.

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