Greece tries to rein in sunbed chaos amid increased tourism

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The waves of the Aegean Sea softly wash on the tables and chairs of two beach restaurants in Greece’s Halkidiki peninsula, creating what can be described as an exquisite setting, yet one that is completely illegal.

According to The Australian, only after local protests last summer about bars and restaurants illegally covering beaches with sunbeds and tables is the Greek state taking action, cracking down on rogue tourist practices with surveillance drones, satellite imagery and a special app on which people can post complaints.

64-year-old pensioner, Evgenia Rapti, who has a summer home near Pefkochori beach, is one of many locals outraged by the inexorable growth of Greece’s tourism industry.

Sunbed wars: Greece tries to rein in beach chaos. Photo republic online.
Sunbed wars: Greece tries to rein in beach chaos. Photo: Republic online.

“The whole beach has been taken over” with tables, chairs and deckchairs. When we bought our house 40 years ago, it was completely different. The beach was empty and it was nice to lie there,” Rapti said.

Beach activist, George Theodoridis weighed in on the matter, speaking to the importance of the app that helps locals with complaints.

“I can click directly in the app at the location where I am and file a report saying that (this private operator) does not have a licence,” Theodoridis said.

Close to 6,000 complaints from the public have been logged on a national scale via the new, official, MyCoast app since April this year.

This follows new laws made in March of this year that have stated umbrellas and deck chairs must be at least four metres from the water, with rentals not permitted on beaches that have less than four metres of sand.

Source: The Australian

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