Fira: With its whitewashed walls and blue domed roofs, Santorini has become the dream holiday destination for millions.
But the beautiful Greek island has become a victim of its own success and is now overrun by tourists. In 2017, it is expected to receive almost two million visitors, according to The Guardian.
The 2011 census reported that Santorini had a population of 15,550 – that’s 133 tourists for every resident.
While the locals welcome the money that tourism brings – almost a quarter of Greece remains unemployed since the financial crash – they have a limit.
The infrastructure of the island is not built for so many visitors, with the roads and water mains becoming increasingly strained.
Normally the island enjoys a lengthy quiet period over the winter, but even that is become rarer. 141 hotels looking to capitalise on the current popularity are staying open this winter, compared to 35 in 2013.
Local officials are now considering a cap on visitor numbers to try and curb the problem. Santorini’s mayor Nikos Zorzos told The Guardian: “We have reached saturation point. The pressure is too much.
“Santorini has developed the problems of a city. We need desperately to increase supplies but that requires studies, which in turn require technicians and that we cannot afford.”
The mayor has already capped the number of cruise passengers who can visit the island, with the daily figure dropping from 18,000 to 8,000.
It’s unclear whether he will have to take the same measures with general visitor numbers if it the issue continues.