Comparative Analysis of Carrying Capacity Indices for the Central Aegean Islands

By Tselentis, Vasileios S.; Prokopiou, Dimitris G. et al. | European Research Studies, January 2012 | Go to article overview

Comparative Analysis of Carrying Capacity Indices for the Central Aegean Islands


Tselentis, Vasileios S., Prokopiou, Dimitris G., Toanoglou, Michalis, European Research Studies


1. Introduction

Greece depends heavily on the tourist trade, as tourism is the main economic activity in Greece. The issue for a long term viable development in the Greek islands, is to find a creative and hopeful perspective through the carrying capacity assessment indicators. Sustainable development and its quantification procedure with specialised measurement instrument, consist a vital element for the environmental condition of the Greek destinations; as the tourist product is a blend of ecological, social and economic sub-systems [4,5]. For that reason an adapted amount of sustainable indicators is selected and a comprehensible methodological guide for their use is created, aiming to reliable measurement of selected parameters that are considered to be important for our region. We believe that using this approach, the local societies and the stakeholders involved as well, are able to understand the size of impact on the existing and mainly not renewable resources, in order to proceed with strategic planning and terms of sustainability for their future developmental course. The natural environment is crucial to the attractiveness of almost all travel destinations and recreation areas [6]. Coastal and marine areas are also important recreation resources for local residents as the tourists who spend much time with marine activities [7]. Coastal zone management is emerging as a deep concern of governments [8]. Through this study and its results the researcher will try to determine the destination status in order to improve tourism and suggest a plan, that will help these islands to become more competitive as tourist destinations. Carrying capacity assessment has become an indispensable tool for formulating policy and strategies in the tourist industry worldwide [9]. Countries and regions with considerable natural and cultural resources look towards tourism when stimulating their sustainable development activities [10]. The contribution of tourism sector to development needs to be clearly explained to allow countries to invest into tourism. Tourism is considered as a development factor [11] as is probably the best example among human activities in which the linkages between environmental quality and economic prospects are evident [12]. Tourism is a part of a general strategy towards sustainability there is little agreement on, or evidence of, how to achieve this.

2. General Characteristics

The Cyclades are located at the south part of the Aegean sea. The Cyclades comprise about 200 islands and the major ones are: Amorgos, Anafi, Andros, Antiparos, Delos, los, Kea, Kimolos, Kythnos, Melos, Myk onos, Naxos, Paros, Folegandros, Serifos, Sifnos, Sikinos, Syros, Tenos, and Thera or Santorini. Most of the smaller islands are uninhabited [13]. Ermoupolis, on Syros, is the capital town and administrative center of the former prefecture. The islands are peaks of a submerged mountainous terrain, with the exception of two volcanic islands, Milos and Santorini (Thera). The climate is generally dry and mild, but with the exception of Naxos the soil is not very fertile: agricultural production includes wine, fruit, wheat, olive oil, and tobacco. Cooler temperatures are found in higher altitudes and mainly do not receive wintry weather. Samos was a prefecture in Greece, consisting of the islands of Samos, Ikaria and the smaller islands of Fournoi Korseon. In 2011 the prefecture was modified and the territory is now covered by the regional units of Samos and Ikaria. Its capital was the town of Vathy, in Samos. Cycladic islands represent one of the most popular destinations in Greece which is highly dependent on tourism. The purpose of this study is to examine the image Cycladic and Samos region islands, by analysing the of the interactions between tourism and environment by examining environmental indices [14]. The population of Cyclades is mainly concentrated in Syros (19.870) Naxos (18.988), Thira (13.960), Paros (12. …

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