Holiday plea to curb all-inclusives and help Kos tavernas
Andy Cornish: September 2014
Couple complains of the rise in all-inclusive hotels which put traditional Kos taverna owners out of business.
Regular holiday visitors to the island of Kos will no doubt have seen how popular beach resorts have been slowly turned over to all-inclusive hotel aimed at the growing cheap package holiday market.
Each year sees a decline in the number of family-owned tavernas and bars that once catered for the independent Greek island holidaymaker as they have been driven out of business by cut-price all-inclusive holiday deals.
Instead of wandering around the beach resorts in the evening to enjoy Greek dining in family-run restaurants, holidaymakers are opting more and more for meals served up in hotels as part of the cut-price holiday deal.
Local shops too have suffered as holiday visitors stay within the hotel grounds, rarely venturing further than the hotel pool and the hotel bar.
No more so than in Kos island beach resort of Kardamena where a disappointed UK couple are so upset by the loss of local tavernas they have written to the mayor pleading for something to be done.
The letter reported in the Kos Explorer says: "We have been devastated by the decline of the village this year in particular. Where there were once beautiful shops, nice bars and restaurants there are now empty premises and quite frankly it is an eyesore for the first time visitors to Kardamena."
They say more should be done by the Kardamena authorities to promote small family-run businesses that are unable to compete with the international chains of hotels that now predominate.
The Manchester couple have taken holidays in Kardamena since 1987 but have seen a sharp decline in the local economy over the past few years.
"We now ask you and the council to ask yourselves are you doing enough to help your people — our opinion would be no. Therefore it is now time for you to take control, promote the village of Kardamena and put a stop to the all-inclusives bleeding it dry," says the impassioned letter.
They acknowledge the need for all-inclusive hotels and admit a rising demand for cheap price holidays but claim that the local economy is now being ruined by the large number of all-inclusive hotels that have been given the green light for building.
The letter adds: "There are many small fine hotels and apartments who do not have the money or the clout to promote themselves and we feel that you and your Council are failing the good people of Kardamena ... more needs to be done to promote the excellent facilities in the village and there are people who like us come back year after year to our small, friendly, family run hotel. This loyalty you will not get from all-inclusive hotel guests."
As well as helping to promote smaller business the local council is urged to press for more direct cheap flights to Kos so that more independent travellers can reach the holiday island through cheaper air fares.
The shift to all-inclusive hotel holidays has had a significant effect on many Greek islands. Many small family-run Greek tavernas and shops rely heavily on casual passing trade.
Wandering from taverna to taverna, comparing menus and prices, is thought by many to be a part of the traditional Greek holiday experience.
But with cheap all-inclusive holiday hotel deals being so heavily promoted, many Greek holidaymakers remain within the confines of the hotel, their food and drinks already included in the price for the holiday.
Not only are such holidays missing one of the great delights of a Greek holiday experience they are also helping to kill off small tavernas and bars faced with rising bills and taxes as well as fewer customers.