'maritime overhaul as tourist numbers soar'.
One of the best tourist seasons ever for the island of Santorini has prompted island leaders to consider building a new marina. The move comes as the popular Greek holiday island notches up a record number of visitors in 2013 and a big rise in the number of cruise ships docking here. Santorini authorities are planning a major overhaul of its maritime infrastructure.
Provisional studies have already been carries out on building a new marina at the resort of Monolithos on the island's east coast and island authorities are believed to be looking for investors to plough money into the tourist boosting project.
Santorini island's mayor, Anastasios Nikolaos Zorzos, said Monolithos would make an ideal spot for a new marina and early studies estimate the resort could have the capacity for 350 boats, including berths for up to 37 super-yachts of more than 25 metres in length.
The new marina could not only provide berths for overnight visitors but could also provide a more permanent base for those who have property on Santorini.
Provisional plans show the marina covering about 90,000 sq.m of water and 30,000 sq.m. of land. Monolithos is located only five kilometres from the main Santorini resort of Fira and just 2.5 km from the island's airport.
Monolithos is currently one of the less visited resorts on Santorini and takes its name from an impressive rock outcrop topped by the church of Agios Ionassis.
Monolithos beach is a long and deep strip of grey sand and shingle backed by cliffs. The resort is a popular spot for those who wish to escape the holiday crowds of Fira. A new marina could change all that and is likely to attract plenty of other tourist investment in the area.
Santorini expects the number of tourists this year to reach unprecedented levels with a forecast 20% increase on 2012. Island visitors could top 1.8 million by the end of the season.
Late season visitors are still arriving, especially those on cruise ships with port authorities declaring 25 cruise ships booked in for November – almost one every day.
The latest available data figures for Santorini holiday arrivals show 638,117 cruise passengers visited Santorini in the year to the end of September.
Holiday visitor arrivals by ferry amounted to 167,979 in the first six months of the year while international arrivals by air reached 243,589 by mid-October.
Domestic arrivals by air reached 170,882 in October and Santorini airport reported the landing of more than 1,000 private jets over the holiday period this year.