Zante or Zakynthos is one of the most southerly of the Ionian chain of holiday islands that follow the coastline of western Greece. Zante has great holiday beaches, fertile plains and wild cliffs while resorts range from idyllic fishing villages to neon-lit resorts like Laganas. The main beach resorts are to the south and west. Elsewhere, expect pretty villages and quiet coves.
Baby turtles on Zante left UK holidaymakers stranded in the airport according to media reports. Homebound Easyjet passengers disembarked from the plane after a fault was found with one of the wing flaps. But specialist flight engineers were unable to fly in and fix the problem because of a night-time ban on flights on the island. It meant passenger had to wait until the following day before the repairs could be carried out and they were able to fly home. The flight approach to Zante airport lies directly over the big holiday beach at Kalamaki, also the nesting site for hundreds of endangered Mediterranean loggerhead turtles. As turtles eggs hatch during the hours of darkness, flights over the nesting beaches are banned during the breeding season which happens to coincide with the peak holiday season of June to August. There are reports of any passengers complaining at the alleged lack of support during the delay which started on Sunday afternoon. Some holidaymakers claim they didn't get back to the Uk until the following Tuesday, had nowhere to stop overnight and were not kept informed of what was happening. Conservation groups say around 500 turtles now head for Zante to build nests on the beaches. They once swam there in their thousands but the encroachment of tourism has taken its toll. The conservation record of Greeks is very poor, particularly on Zante where turtle nesting beaches have been bulldozed to make way for hotels, beach bars and tourist sunbeds. Despite cashing in on the turtle connection, Zante has done more than any other Greek island to drive them to extinction. Turtle spotting boat trips are still a popular draw despite the shy creatures being hounded by tourists. Turtles arrive in Laganas Bay to queues of glass-bottomed pleasure boats circling the waters. Camera snapping tourists appear unconcerned at the distress caused as boats that chase the turtles through the water. Easyjet said around a quarter of passengers took alternative flights and those stranded were provided with hotel accommodation and expenses in line with European and they will also be entitled to compensation. A spokesperson added: "We do all possible to try and minimise delays and as such planned to send a replacement aircraft. Unfortunately, due to the night curfew rule at the airport, we were unable to get the replacement aircraft into the airport." The Greek government has been under fire for years from the European Commission for its failure to protect the turtles and their nesting sites from commercial exploitation. Greece was condemned by the European Court for failing to protect the endangered sea turtles of Zante after household waste was dumped on a key nesting site.
A holiday on Zante is hardly complete without a boat trip to the famous Shipwreck Cove but visitors may well find the beached vessel fenced off. Officials on the Greek island of Zakynthos are planning to give the rotting hulk in Navagio Bay a facelift. If conservation work gets the go-ahead that could mean fencing the vessel off from the public while the shipwreck gets a clean-up. Thousands of holiday visitors to Zante take the regular excursions boats to see the famous shipwreck. The beached wreck at Smugglers Cove features on Zante island holiday brochures and makes a favourite snap for the holiday photo album. Excursion boats make daily trips to the beach where holidaymakers can clamber over the rusting wreck. Although touted as a romantic wreck, the beached vessel is just a rusty old steamer that ran around in bad weather. Locals say the ship was on a smuggling expedition and was loaded with contraband cigarettes and booze. It was being chased by a Greek navy patrol boat when it hit the beach and has remained ever since. Once considered a ugly a blight on the beautiful bay, the ship has slowly deteriorated over the years and has now become part of the scenery as well as a major tourist attraction. But much of the hulk is rusted and stained while parts of the wreck are covered in ugly graffiti. Zante mayor, Pavlos Kolokotsas, wants to a conservation program for the eroding vessel which he claims is now part of the island's heritage. As well as erecting fencing around the wreck he want to limit the access of beachgoers who he claims are responsible for some of the damage. Latest plans also include hiring security guards to supervise access to the wreck and a portable chemical toilet for visitors. A lifeguard may also be on duty when excursion boats pull into the bay as many visitors combine their trip with a dip in the sea. But the waters in the bay are deep and the shoreline steep, with strong currents in the bay. There are no roads to the remote beach and emergency services can have difficulty in responding quickly to calls for help. The island council could earmark €25,000 - €30,000 towards the project but it will also be looking to the private sector to help fund the clean-up. It may only be a matter of time before Zante holiday visitors have to pay cash to explore the famous wreck which could be 'hidden' behind a fence. The bay at Navagio is considered one of the most beautiful in the Ionian islands and the wreck has only added to its charm. There will be some who will argue that a large fence around the wreck will be an ugly eyesore at such an attractive spot. It was only recently that alarm bells rang over rumours that the famous Zante holiday beach could be sold off to a private company. But the rumours were dismissed by the Greek Orthodox Church, which has considerable property rights in the area. The photogenic Navagio beach is considered a must-see sight on the Greek island of Zante where near-vertical cliffs plunge down to a deep crescent of white pebble on a shore of crystal clear turquoise waters.
Greece had been condemned by the European Court for failing to protect endangered sea turtles as it dumps household waste on a key nesting site. It follows widespread alarm at the continued use of a waste dump on a protected beach in Zante close to the popular holiday resorts of Laganas and Kalamaki. Zante authorities continue to bulldoze nesting sites and to dump waste on land that lies within the maritime national park of the island, part of the European network of protected sites Natura 2000 since 2006. The European Court of Justice rules that, by keeping a dump active, in defiance European Union environmental regulations, Greece has violated its obligations under European law. The court also ruled that Greece also violated its obligations on the preservation of the environment and endangered species and it now faces the risk of a lawsuit or a heavy fine. The destruction of nest sites and disregard for the sea turtle caretta caretta has been a national scandal for many years. Zante locals have traded heavily on its turtle connection, with turtle spotting boat trips and endless turtle T-shirts, while at the same time destroying habitats, invading nesting sites and killing off turtles in large numbers. Beaches around Laganas Bay have been major turtle nesting sites for hundred of years. But the growth in tourism has seen turtle numbers decline sharply as tourist facilities have expanded. Zante tourist turtle spotting boats regularly scare off the shy creatures while bulldozers clear nesting sites to make way for sun loungers and beach bars. Some measures have been put in place to protect turtles, with nesting sites marked off and power boats and jet skis banned on some beaches, but laws to protect the animals go largely disregarded and unenforced. Zante conservation experts have repeatedly warned that tourist turtle-viewing trips on Zante pleasure boats are threatening the future of the endangered caretta caretta sea turtle but the war with the tourist industry in Laganas Bay has been going on for years. In this latest incident, Greek authorities decided to continue using a waste dump close to the Sekania beach on Laganas bay inside the maritime park until a new one is opened. The court found that waste dumping in this area of Kalamaki was having a strong impact on the ecology of Zante and it siting judged to be especially damaging, as turtles in this area need absolute protection. Tourists appear unaware or unconcerned at the distress caused by turtle spotting boats that chase the turtles through the water. Conservation experts blame repeated funding cuts by Greek authorities which have prevented measures to protect turtles and guard endangered nesting sites. The Greek government has been under fire for years from the European Commission for its failure to protect the turtles of Zante and their nesting sites from commercial exploitation.
Talks on sale of land at Shipwreck beach. Alarm bells are ringing over reports that the famous 'Shipwreck' holiday beach of Navagio on Zante may have been sold off to a property company with links to the Emir of Qatar. The most famous beach in Zakynthos, Navagio beach, attracts thousands of tourist visitors each year to its sheer white cliffs, turquoise waters and the historic shipwreck that lies beached on the shoreline. Rumours are sweeping the island that a local family, who own much of the land surrounding the popular Navagio beach, are in serious talks to sell the site to an international real estate company, with strong links to the Emir of Qatar, for a reported €9 million. Details began to emerge when the Public Revenue Service of Zakynthos revealed that a €400,000 deposit had been offered towards possible land transfer tax on the deal, although tax officials claim the property is probably worth double what is claimed. However, it appeals the may also involve the Greek Church which has considerable property rights in the area, including the property title for the famous holiday beach itself. Recently the Bishop Chrysostomos of Dodona announced that the Church has no intention of selling its property rights in the region and claimed the issue was already under investigation by legal officials on Zakynthos. The Greek Church not only has a large amount of land on the island of Zante is also owns and runs the Monastery of Agios Giorgios of Krimes which is located above the famous Shipwreck Beach. The photogenic Navagio beach is a must-see sight on the Greek holiday island of Zante , where the near-vertical cliffs plunge down to a deep scimitar of white pebble and sand. Thousands of holiday visitors to Zante go on excursions to the famous shipwreck, also known as Smugglers Cove, which features on scores of Zante postcards and holiday brochures and there are daily boat trips from many resorts around the island. The wreck is just a rusty old steamer that struck the beach while on a cigarette and booze smuggling expedition. It ran aground in poor weather while being pursued by a Greek navy patrol boat. There are no roads to the remote spot and the easiest access is by sea. Day trips excursion boats arrive hourly at the beach bring hundreds of trippers every day. It also stages an annual base jump competition with competitors jumping and parachuting down onto the beach from the top of sheer cliffs. The Bishop said the potential transfer of surrounding property to an investor is at an early stage and that there are many loose ends to tie up before any deal is done and that the Church was closely monitoring developments. It is understood that a large area land around the Zante beach, around 15,000 acres, is subject to negotiation between the company with connections to the Emir of Qatar and the descendants of an island family that claims deed going back to the 17th century. A representative of the landowner claims all proper legal procedures have been following in the land sale but insists that the property in question does not include the monastery or the famous Navagio tourist beach.
Holidaymakers expected to top 500,000 this year. As the last holiday flight leaves Zante at the end of the summer season, islanders are celebrating a record year in 2013. Latest figures show the Ionian holiday island welcomed more than 483,000 tourists at the island's airport this year, a record number. But when ferry arrivals are added later this month tourist officials on Zante are confident holidaymakers will top the 500,000 mark. Zante not only attracts visitors from northern and central Europe and Russia, it is also a very popular holiday destination for thousands of Italians who make regular ferry crossings from ports such as Venice and Brindisi. Zante has also benefited this year from a rise in flights from low-cost airlines that have brought in many more independent travellers to join those on all-inclusive package holidays. Zante island authorities are already in talks with cheap flight airlines like easyJet and Ryanair to strike low price deals for 2014 in anticipation of more frequent holiday flights Zante next year. Tourist representatives from all the Ionian Islands, which include Corfu, Kefalonia and Lefkas, are in London this week for the travel industry exhibition World Travel Market. Greece is hoping to make a big impact at this year's World Travel Market(WTM) that open its doors on 4 November at ExCeL London exhibition centre. On the opening day Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni will give an update on Greece as a tourism destination at a press conference organized by the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO). Greece is poised to launch its big advertising drive to capture holiday markets next year with its theme of 'Secret Greece' in an effort to promote some of the country's lesser-known destinations such as Xanthi, Monemvasia, Olympia, Lakonia, Messinia and Delphi. Some 50,000 executives from the global travel and tourism industry are expected to attend the WTM 2013 where more than 5,000 exhibitors showcase their holiday destinations. The deals struck at exhibitions such as WTM and be influential in deciding which holidays get the biggest promotions among the major holiday companies and where holidaymakers visit in 2014. International arrivals and tourism revenue in Greece and the Greek Islands are expected to surpass even the most optimistic forecasts for 2013 as the latest figures suggest a record year for visitors with around 17.5 million visitors generating around €11.5 billion in tourism receipts. In a major drive to jump-start bookings for 2014, the Tourism Ministry and the GNTO have already launched several Greek Islands holiday promotions, released ferry schedules six months early and expect to launch scores of seaplane services between the Greek Islands. Mrs. Kefalogianni said at a recent conference in Athens that 2014 may turn out be an even better year for Greek tourism than 2013.
Tourists help scare off nesting turtles. Holiday tourists on Zante are helping to kill off one of the world's rarest turtles. Conservation experts warn that tourist turtle-viewing trips on Zante pleasure boats are threatening the future of the endangered caretta caretta or Mediterranean loggerhead sea turtle. The war between conservationists and the tourism industry has been going on for years in Zante's Laganas Bay. The area is a hugely popular holiday hotspot and also one of the main breeding grounds for the turtle. Glass bottomed turtle viewing trips are very popular with visiting holidaymakers, but not for the turtles themselves. The caretta caretta is normally shy and easily disturbed, especially during the egg laying season. But turtles arrive in Laganas Bay to queues of pleasure boats circling the waters. Pleasure boats are moored along the coastline of the islet of Marathonisi, a major turtle nesting site, from 10am to 6pm every day as tourist pay to get a glimpse of the shy creatures. Tourists appear unaware of the distress they cause among the rare turtles as they snap their cameras as boats chase them through the water. The director of the conservation group WWF Hellas, Dimitris Karavellas, blames the problem on funding cuts which have prevented the recruitment of guards for the nesting site. Environment Minister Yiannis Maniatis insisted that there was no problem with funding but suggested that the protection program had yet to get started. The Greek government has been under fire for years from the European Commission for its failure to protect the turtles and their nesting sites from commercial exploitation. Turtle nests in the Laganas Bay resort of Kalamaki have been used as a rubbish dump while hotel owners have bulldozed nesting sites to make way for sunbeds.
Zante beach cliff diving on video. Taking photos of the famous Shipwreck Beach on Zante is a popular activity for many holiday visitors to the island. But this video posted on Youtube here shows what it must be like to jump from the near vertical cliffs to the beach below. The video follows the fortunes of base jumping enthusiasts who sky dive off the cliffs to the sands below. Apologies for the music soundtrack which I suppose is meant to add to the excitement - you decide. Zante hosts an annual contest for extreme sports enthusiasts at the Navagio beach. Big name base jumpers from across the world attend the event which is usually held in August. The base jumping contest is an extra attraction for holiday visitors to Zante who are visiting the island at this time of year. Obviously, the sport is not without it dangers, as highlighted when a British base jumper died in June last year when his parachute got snagged on the cliff face. Tourist Jake Simkins, 42, was making a jump from the Navagio cliffs when he hit the cliff face and got stuck on rocks for three hours before plunging 180ft to his death. Emergency workers were unable to reach him before he fell. Almost every holiday visitor to Zante will visit the famous shipwreck cove which features on loads of Zante postcards and holiday brochures. The wreck is just a rusty old steamer that struck the beach while on a cigarette and booze smuggling expedition. It ran aground in poor weather while being chased by a Greek navy patrol boat. But the picture postcard setting adds glamour. There are no roads to this spot and the easiest access is by sea. Day trips excursion boats arrive hourly bring hundreds of trippers every day.
Zante underwater city find. An important new underwater archaeological site has been discovered off the Greek Island holiday coast of Zante. Impressive underwater remains have been found off the coastal holiday resort of Alykanas on Zante where a team has been working for nearly a month. The large sunken site is believed to cover about 30,000 square metres and shows evidence of paved floors, courtyards and colonnades. Early guesses are that this is the remains of an ancient city port but the absence of any pottery finds so far make it difficult to date. The site is off the coast of one of Zante's most popular holiday beach resort area at Alykanas and Alykes where thousand of holidaymakers visit each year. Underwater archaeologists have found at least 20 circular column bases each with a large central hole that suggests they were to support wooden columns. The size of the building suggest the existence of a significant ancient settlement in the Alikanas area. Now the Greek Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities will work in collaboration with the Municipality of Zakynthos to carry out more extensive research and mapping of the site as soon as possible.
Zante arts festival opens. Holiday visitors to Zante can get a taste of modern art as the island stages and International Art and Creation Festival. It is the second year running that Zante tourists get to see paintings from international artists as the island bids to get established on the cultural map of the Mediterranean. An exhibition of paintings opened earlier this month at the Regional Unit of Zakynthos buildings and the island is to host a meeting later in May of artists, photographers and journalists from Russia, Holland, Spain, China and, of course, Greece itself. An exhibition spokesman said: "Besides the artistic renderings of the natural beauty and historical monuments of Zakynthos, coupled with the use of technology and new means of communication, a view of the island around the world will also be offered." The latter part of theZakynthos Arts Festival is being run in cooperation with the Moscow Association of Artists of the International Art Fund during which, renowned Russian and Greek painters together will create works of art in the open air, creating their own impressions of the natural beauty and culture of the Island During their stay on Zante, the artists will take part in several events including painting classes, painting exhibitions into the Zante countryside, round table talks on art issues, friendship tours and may even create special painting for the occasion. The Municipality of Zakynthos is organizing for the second year in a row the International of Art and Creation Festival which aims to establish international art meetings on an annual basis and use the island as its destination. They will be joined by the noted French painter Giacomo de Pass who will be guest of honour. Paintings and photographs created during the cultural event will be displayed in the Club Zakynthos and the Casino at St. Mark's Square. Zante entrepreneurs and other sponsors are providing the hospitality, catering and island tours for the artists. Zante officials hope to strengthen artistic and cultural relations between the countries as well boost the island's reputation as a major cultural centre.
Zante hospital could close tourists warned. Holiday visitors to the Greek Islands may not find the best of health care should they fall ill while abroad. Government funding cuts are having a serious impact with claims that the general hospital on Ionian island of Zakynthos is close to breaking point just the latest in a series of health warnings across the islands. It is claimed by senior medical staff that the Zakynthos hospital may have to close unless it receives more funding. The hospital on Zakynthos is currently running at 60% capacity with most beds taken up by elderly patients requiring immediate medical care. Medics claim the hospital has run out of heating oil and has been forced to reduce meals served to patients because of a serious cash shortage. The hospital says it cannot play cleaning staff, has been forced to cancel several surgeries and is quickly running out of drugs. They fear the start of the tourist holiday season at Easter will bring more visitors to the island and put even more strain on its only hospital. It follows alarm on the island of Symi earlier this year when the island's only doctor was moved to neighbouring Leros and patients were forced to travel to Athens to get vital drugs when supplies ran out. On Patmos a doctor has pleaded to help after complaining that she was on continuous 24-hour call and that she was reaching her limits of endurance. She pleaded for a second rural doctor to be posted on the island "because my physical and mental fatigue after continuous call for so long can be fatal in the management of an incident". Austerity measures have led to major cutback in many health and social services across Greece with health centres on many Greek islands being badly hit.
Anger ar waste dumping on turtle nest beach. One good reason not to book a Greek island holiday in Laganas on Zante this year - Greece is to face European court action over the illegal dumping of waste on the holiday beach of Kalamaki. Years of protests have failed to stop unlawful waste dumping on Kalamaki beach which is an important nesting ground for endangered loggerhead sea turtles The European Court of Justice has now ruled that Greece will be indicted to stand trial over the issue after repeated warnings about the Kalamaki dump have been ignored. The latest move follows a European ruling against Greece in 2002 for failing to take adequate measures to protect its endangered Careta Careta loggerhead sea turtle population, which is threatened with extinction. It was only in July 2011, following months of delay, that the Greek Ministry of Environment Energy and Climate Change finally released operational funds to the Zakynthos National Marine Park to cover salaries for staff involved in the marine protection project since 2010. This funding delay led to insufficient patrols of turtle nests on the beach, the construction of an illegal car park, the building of a breakwater and a significant decrease in the number of nests counted on the beach in 2011. The 2011 summer nesting season notched up the highest ever recorded number of dead and stranded turtles as the Greek government continued to ignore its responsibilities. Experts fear that the loss of such a large number of adult turtles may irreversibly affect the loggerhead population's attempts to reproduce each year s on Zakynthos beaches. Despite the European Commission's intervention on illegal landfills in Greece, the unlawful waste dump continues to operate on Kalamaki beach and it has even been expanded with the construction of two new dump sites. The Zante authorities claim they can't find anywhere to build a new landfill and say they intend to operate the existing one illegally until 2015. The wanton destruction of turtle nesting sites in Laganas Bay has been a national disgrace for the Zante authorities, unable or unwilling to comply with turtle protection laws despite the resort trading on its beaches as turtle nesting sites. Anyone who cares for Greece or the environment should stay away from Laganas and Kalamaki beaches until the Greek and Zante officials see some sense.
Zante beach hosts extreme sports contest. Holiday visitors to Zante can catch a glimpse of one of the world's most thrilling extreme sports when the famous Shipwreck Beach hosts a base jumping contest. An extreme sport is always an attraction for many viewers just because of the theme of word extreme. This is especially so for one of the most dangerous extreme sports in the world and the largest dose of adrenaline that can give a sport like this. The reason is base jumping. Base jumping is a parachute jump without an airplane. The jump is made from a relatively low altitude from the Earth. A prerequisite is extensive experience and training in skydiving and parachuting. With what could be combined a sport like this? Certainly the free fall from the steep sides of exotic beaches of the Ionian Sea in Greece. Of course it could not be other than the famous Shipwreck Beach in Zakynthos. Already professional base jumpers are ready to participate in this year's event, among them big names in base jumping from abroad, who will travel to Zakynthos and the magnificent Navagio beach. The event is scheduled to run from August 20 to 26 and is sponsored by big energy drink company from America. The base jumping contest is an extra attraction or those who want to travel to Zakynthos. The Navagio beach is a must-see sight on the island, where the near-vertical cliffs plunge down to an enclosed beach. Those that wish to enjoy the event can book now your Zakynthos hotels and enjoy the most extreme event in Zante. The dangers of this extreme sport were highlighted when a British base jumper died in June this tear when his parachute got snagged on the cliff face at Navagio Beach. Tourist Jake Simkins, 42 , was making a jump on the Greek island of Zante when it went terribly wrong and he hit the cliff face. He got stuck on rocks for three hours before plunging 180ft to his death. Emergency workers tried to rescue him but he fell before they could reach him. Mr Simkins worked for London Underground's engineering department and had a passion for extreme sports.
Zante holiday highlights for all the family. Family holidays on Zante have proved hugely popular and Zante, also called Zakynthos, is many families' Greek island holiday of choice. Although a beach holiday is the main attraction, anyone can tire of sunbathing and swimming, especially those with children in tow or those who like to add a little adventure to their beach holiday in the Greek islands. Here are a few ideas for things to do besides laze on the beach for those planning a holiday to Zante this year. Holistic Heaven Day Retreat Holistic alternative therapies are all the rage at the moment and where better to indulge in a little 'healing' treatment than in Old Kalamaki on Zante's south coast. Holistic Heaven offers aromatherapy and head massage, reiki, reflexology, crystal healing, facials, Hopi ear candles and other weird stuff - just the thing to help relax your way into a Greek island holidays. The treatments are based on a concept of the 'whole' person, with the mind, spirit, and emotions in balance with the environment. Not sure what that means but, mumbo-jumbo aside, you can indulge yourself here, relax in beautiful surroundings and get a good measure of Zante holiday pampering. Tsilivi Splash Fun & Water Park Based near the Zante holiday resort of Tsilivi, this water park opened in 2010 and, although there are a couple of other water parks on Zakynthos, this one gets a lot of good reviews from Zante holiday visitors The Tsilivi water park is not as big as the others, but visitors say it is just the right size for kiddies and recommend popping in for the afternoon when prices are often reduced. Visitors say the water park is clean and well laid out with plenty of fun for all ages. Five big slides for older children, a good swimming pool, jacuzzi and, best of all for moms and dad, plenty of sunbeds. Visitors liked the water features - Pirate Galleon, Aztec Jungle - loads of stuff for kids to climb on and loads of lifeguards too, so you don't have to worry about safety. A snack bar and restaurant tend to be pricey, but visitors report huge portions. Xigia Beach OK, I was suggesting alternatives to the beach but this is a Zante holiday beach with alternatives. Xigia is also called Sulfur Beach and its found near Volimes, about 23km from Zakynthos Town. Xygia is a pebble and shingle beach, very small and picturesque, but what hits you is the smell of sulfur that wafts out of a nearby cave. There are steep steps down to the beach and the blue water has a milky white tinge. It is very shallow for some way out then drops sharply into the sea. The thing is, the sulfur in the water makes for a great therapeutic holiday dip as it is good for rheumatism, arthritis and aches and pains in general. This Zante holiday beach doesn't have a cantina or sunbeds though so take some provisions if you visit. Lack of amenities means the beach is never crowded and for large parts of the holiday season you will get a Zante beach all to yourself. Logothetis Organic Farm This organic farm, on the Vassilikos peninsula, lies among olive groves, pine tree forests and the deep blue of the Ionian Sea. The bio farm is in the National Marine Park of Zakynthos. Visitors are welcome to walk the trails and the Logothetis family will even loan you a mountain bike for free if you want to explore the area further. There is a visitor centre here where you can taste the agricultural products of the organic farm. If you really like it, and you will, you can even stay in one of their traditional farmhouses. Each house in Logothetis farm is totally independent, secluded with plenty of peace and quiet. Farmhouses can accommodate from two to seven people.
Zante holiday season roundup. As the last of the Zante summer holiday holiday tourists flew out last week hotel owners and travel agents have been looking back over a bumpy year. Although Greek Island holidays held up well in 2011, despite the economic problems, holiday visitors kept a tighter grip on their cash than in previous years. Hotel owners say that although Zante holiday arrivals were up 5% on 2010, the average spending dropped, with many hotel owners slashing prices. Apartment owners in the Greek resort of Alykes described the 2011 holiday season as 'modest' despite an increase in visitors this year. The total holiday market dropped dramatically as Greek tourists stayed away when they were hit by salary and pension cuts from the government. Holiday tourism is still the fastest growing sector in the beleaguered Greek economy, accounting for 15% of the gross domestic product. It also accounts for many jobs in Greece with one in five now employed in the tourism sector in one way or another. Greece is a now 12th in the world tourist table and so far in 2011 a total of 10,339,553 tourists enjoyed holidays in Greece and the Greek islands and pumped around 10 billion euros into the Greek economy. Greek holidays account for 1.6% of global market and 3.15% of the total European holiday market with the highest number of tourist holiday arrivals coming from Germany and the UK.
Zante petition to curb holiday drunks. Residents of the popular Zante holiday resort of Laganas have had enough of drunken Brits rampaging through their streets. A protest petition is demanding that authorities clamp down on the annual summer holiday 'jungle' of drunken street parties. They want an end to the delinquent behaviour of drink-addled youngsters benders that have given Laganas a reputation across Europe for drunken debauchery. At a Laganas town hall meeting local people registered anger at the apparent inertia of island authorities in tackling the problem, particularly after the death of of a British youngster earlier this year. Laganas authorities have so far refused to curb the practise of organised holiday bar crawls that result in street drunkenness and they have refused to implement a ban on loud music playing all night until the early hours. A protester told the meeting: 'The main road is inaccessible during the evening hours, because whoever goes to there in danger of breaking the car and the beaten by hordes of drunken Brits.' They now fear a backlash from responsible family holidaymakers who will turn away from Laganas because of its lawless reputation. Many locals have now signed up to the protest petition which calls for action before the Zante holiday season in 2012. A petition organiser said: ' We continue to collect signatures of residents of Laganas to request a change of situation by next summer. As is known, the area has been discredited worldwide since the young British make extravagant parties, which include heavy drinking and orgies.'
Plea to improve Zante holidays. Zante island will have to improve services if it is to attract more visitors on Greek island holidays, the island council has been warned. Poor roads, inadequate sewage treatment, irregular water supplies and lack of signposting threatens to affect Zante's chances of attracting more people. Hoteliers on Zante have complained of insufficient water supplies in some parts of Zante island especially in the peak holiday season of July and August. The Zante island council has also been warned about the problems of poor drainage and sewage disposal in the popular Alykes beach holiday resort on the north-east coast as well as leeching from landfill sites on the island. Tourist leaders also complain of poor island roads, especially the highway that runs from Alikes, through Zakynthos Town to Volimes which they claim is in need of a major upgrade. A report from the hoteliers association, NSRF, said: "Considering the intense competition we face, both from other destinations in Greece and from abroad, we list the proposals considered imperative to implement. Any further delay or inaction will have devastating effects on the economy of our island." Council leaders were told that Zanythos port also needs a major upgrade if it is to attract cruise ships to the island. The report added: "While in terms of cruise companies, there is great interest in Zakynthos destination for this type of tourism, there is no infrastructure for the mooring of cruise ships. So few moorings for cruise ships has serious economic consequences." And hoteliers are angry that plans for a new marina have yet to get off the drawing board. "While the island in recent years, is one of the major tourist destinations in Greece, until now there has been nothing in terms of reconstruction and modernisation of the port," the report adds.