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Zante protest at all-inclusive

- by Liz Waugh

Zante protest at all-inclusive holidays.

Shop, bar and taverna owners on the island of Zante, are up in arms at the recent growth of all-inclusive holiday packages to the Greek islands. They say shops are deserted and restaurant tables remain empty as all inclusive package tourists stay all day in their hotels and bars.

Business president for Tsilivi and Kalamaki, Yiannis Liveris, said May 2011 had seen the worst trading for local tourist business owners in the last 10 years.

He warns that some owners could be forced to close shops and tavernas in protest.

He added: 'There are not words to describe the situation we are experiencing this year. My colleagues do not know what to do.

There are days in our stores when we don't see a customer. Tourists are staying in hotels and do not spend money outside.'

All-inclusive packages are now heavily promoted by big tour operators who make more profit from customers who spend money within the holiday hotel complex.

Apartment owners on Zante cannot compete with the cheap room rates offered in all-inclusive deals offered in holiday hotels on Zante.

But local businesses still have to pay heavy tourist taxes to the government whether they make money or not. If resorts are 'stripped' of local shops, cafes and tavernas for the tourists to enjoy, they could lose their appeal to visitors

Mr Liveris warned: 'We should all understand that tourism is a chain. If you shut down restaurants and bars then hotels suffer too because they will not have options for their customers.'

Business owners in Tsilivi and Kalamaki may now form an association to put pressure on holiday firms to cut back on all-inclusive hotel holidays on Zante. If no solution can be found they may even stage protests to bring the issue to prominence.