An Appraisal of Over-tourism on the Island of Crete, Greece

John Vourdoubas


Over-tourism is a multi-faced problem with severe economic, social and environmental consequences in tourist destinations. The island of Crete is an attractive and popular tourist destination in the Eastern Mediterranean basin and it is currently ranked among the ten most overcrowded EU tourism NUTS-2 regions. This fact could threaten and harm the fragile natural ecosystems in the island resulting in the decline of the prosperous tourism industry in the future. The aim of the current work is the estimation of various tourism indexes in the island of Crete which characterize over-tourism. Data regarding tourist arrivals and overnight stays in Crete in the previous years have been used for estimating the appropriate tourism indexes. Comparisons with other EU regions and with the average EU and global values have also been made. The possibility of creating a tourism observatory in Crete for tackling excess tourism has also been outlined. Our results indicate that Crete is categorized as an overcrowded tourism destination among EU regions while its tourism indexes are above the EU and global average. Cooperation among all stakeholders in the Cretan tourism industry is required in order to cope with over-tourism, shifting the local tourism industry towards a more sustainable and responsible model. The creation of a tourism observatory on the island with the participation of all tourism stakeholders is necessary. The observatory will assist in the development of the required policies offering guidance and advice for tackling excess tourism in Crete, avoiding economic, social and environmental degradation in the future.

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International Journal of Global Sustainability    ISSN 1937-7924     E-mail:

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