AMORGOS, the easternmost island of the Greek Cyclades is a stunner,
with whitewashed houses, trestled alleyways and fiery rust sunsets ...
Kevin Raub in New York Post, 2010

Sustainable Tourism in Amorgos

sustainable eco tourism in Amorgos

Larisa Doctoro, pulished an article in the online magazine Rendez-vous (an American womens club of Brussels publications) about sustainable tourism in Amorgos. She knows “Amorgos has established its tourist niche in sustainable tourism, meaning, tourism that respects nature and local traditions … The island is self-supporting, producing most of what is needed to get along: its own meat, fruit and vegetables, oil, honey, olives and cheeses as well as an abundance of local fish”.

Read the full article

International Convention for Culture & Tourism an Amorgos

For the last seven years, the islanders have organized the International Annual Convention YPERIA during which sustainable tourism and green living are discussed. The conference was held in April 2010 at the Aegialis  Hotel & Spa in cooperation with the Cultural Association of Tholaria Women in Aegiali.


Comment with Facebook

  1. I feel a bit strange to hear that a congress on sustainable tourism takes place in this “Egialis Hotel”, which is a stain on Egialis bay scenery imho. The building of this kind of luxury hotel with big pool, such as the recent “ELIES RESORTS” now defacing Vathy bay on Sifnos, should not be encouraged.

  2. Dear Katsaros,

    You are not the first person to make this observation including many of the delegates. In actual fact sustainable tourism is hardly touched on. Indeed there seems to be very little understanding in this forum of the difference between eco-tourism, responsible travel and sustainable tourism.

    The page on eco-tourism on the main menu is just part of a much larger paper I presented to the EU. A larger but still edited version can be found at: I think that you will find that para five covers your point.

    Kind regards,
    Paul Delahunt-Rimmer

  3. erwin August 13, 2010

    dear paul, dear katsaros,

    great to see that discussions around this important topics start. the published article (Sustainable Tourism on Amorgos) shows one point of view. it is the magazines’ intention to encourage different points of view, especially when your contributions are critically but also suggest ideas and solutions (important).
    everybody is invited to post articles around this topic, as paul already did.


  4. Katsaros August 13, 2010

    Dear everyone,

    I hope in any case that it won’t be too late when the touristic potential of the islands off-season will be enough taken in consideration (ie that there still will be monopatia and kalderimia in the landscape, not only on the maps and in the memory of walkers).

    This letter from another hiking guide ( goes in the same direction as Paul’s I think: this guide says he’s managing groups of hiker’s from New Zealand, who go so far as Amorgos just because of its scenery, paths, “unspoiled” look, and that when every monopati will become a useless dirt road, they will go somewhere else (he’s referring to the destruction of the central part of the Potamos-Chozoviotissa monopati, to make a road to nowhere)

    I totally agree with “The way forward is not to increase capacity for this short period but to put strategies in place to lengthen the season and manage this growth through eco-tourism”.

    The place of amorgian agricultural products in the touristic offer is another thing that should be developped. Last time I was there, I could’nt find anywhere amorgian wine, for example. Everybody says “yes…there is…but…very few…just for home consumption…” etc As for the fava, old people told me the one that is now served mainly comes from Crete. No foreigner knows about the “amorgian black bread”. The only “local product” which seems to be available (except from honey) is the psimeni raki, but it’s made with cretan raki.

    In short, “more mavro krasi, less frozen seafood” could be a way to give inhabitants the possibility to work all the year long in their island, instead of transforming it into a 2 months summer-dormitory.

    • nicola August 13, 2010

      katsaros wrote: “In short, “more mavro krasi, less frozen seafood” could be a way to give inhabitants the possibility to work all the year long in their island, instead of transforming it into a 2 months summer-dormitory.”

      i fully agree!

  5. stamatis August 13, 2010

    With all the respect to the above, the impression that is given to me is of people who have only read about Amorgos from the book and been commenting it by what they have read and deffinetely not by people who spend most of their time on Amorgos, have personal experience and perhaps making a living of the island.

    To be a bit more clear, the comment “…only “local product” which seems to be available (except from honey) is the psimeni raki, but it’s made with cretan raki” must be written by someone who has never been on Amorgos. Yes, the comment might be partly true but as far as the origin of the raki. Nothing is said about the herbs, and the efford needed in order to collect over 15 different herbs or about the time needed and the “meraki” (the love put into) in order to maintain and continue a traditional liquer,which by the way can also be found at a supermarket. From what I know and have experienced at most of the restaurants and tavernas the owners with pride serve their home made “psimeni” as complimentary,and most of the times they would say in a playful way that their “psimeni” is the best on the island.

    Continuing on the same comment “…only “local product” which seems to be available (except from honey) is the psimeni raki, but it’s made with cretan raki”, obviously they haven’t lately traveled from Aegiali to Katapola by car because if they did they would see hundreds of goats on the side of the road greeting the visitors, which are breeded by local sheperds for local consumption. In order to be more specific and with no intention to advertize “Panorama tavern” in Tholaria, “Santouraki” in Tholaria, “Vigla” restaurant at Tholaria, “Ambrosia Restaurant” at Aegialis hotel, “Lakki Village” at Aegiali beach, “To Limani” at Aegiali port, “Niko’s” tavern at Langada…and the list goes on, they all use local goats for their “Patatato” or for their “Gemisto”, not to say about their vegetables. All the above cultivate part of what is on their menu on their very own gardens. For someone who is in Aegiali, has been or even have a photo of Aegiali goalf can verify what is said just by looking on the right and left side of the road from Aegiali port to Tholaria.
    As soon as one makes the left turn at the intersection to Tholaria on the right hand they will see the cultivations of “Varis” who provided all the goods of his cultivations to “Askas” restaurant and “Varis” taverna at Langada. On the right side right after Varis cultivations is Santouri who also offers its goods to his guests. In the same direction is Nikolas on the left from Panorama, Lakki gardens, Eriniko who supplies “To Limani” and many other restaurants, Kostas from “Vigla”, further inside “To Poniro” who supplies his taverna in Langada, on the clif the gardens of “Aegialis hotel” and these are only a few.

    Well, my personal opinion is that one should think a bit harder before commenting on issues that could effect the lifes of others. If all these gardeners, restaurant owners, shepperds had a way to answer, (most of them are ignorant of internet), the answer to the above comments would be more harsh and more loud than mine.

    As to the visitors of Amorgos, they are so previledged not only because of the beautiful landscape, the exeptional monuments, the historical backround but also because of the quality of their hosts.

    As for Katsaros, Nikolas, Mr.Delahunt, I invite them to spend a day with any of the above locals mentioned, and then re-write their above comments.

    …to be continued

    • nicola August 14, 2010

      @ stamatis – i’d like to avoid misunderstandings. i think nobody here wants to tell the locals where to go and what to do. i see it more than a hint by those who like to visit amorgos. the protection and more effective merchandising of local specialities – and there are a lot on amorgos, i agree – could be an asset for a sustainable tourism developement.

      be sure that the leading thought of the magazine is to attract attention on topics like this. everybody is invited to help to enrich the magazines content!

  6. Bravo Stamati. I do not know however why you have grouped me into the ‘uninformed’ As you know very well we have spent every day of the year for the last 11 years living and working in the mountains with whom we feel privileged to call our friends. The goatherds who think I am crazy when I meet them at six in the morning on my run. The farmers in the fields as we walk our clients around the mountains. Helping with the olive picking. Supervising the Raki distillation (a great pleasure!).

    Readers, please note what Stamatis says. We do not import raki from Crete. We make it here from our own grapes. We actually export goat and lamb. We do not need to import. We also export local wine and olive oil. At all the establishments that Stamatis mentions many of the ingredients are organic and from here. Again at these establishments all the beef is organic and local. Most of the fish is local and fresh. Demand requires certain shell fish to be imported and frozen but this is down to the consumer’s choice.

    As Stamatis says: ‘just spend a day with the local people’ this will however be starting at dawn, or before. Join me on my run – no charge. Get off the beach and see the real Amorgos. And, yes we will speak for the people who do not understand this medium. The delightful and hospitable islanders, albeit behind the scenes really welcome you. Just be grateful that there is such a relatively unspoilt Greek island for you to enjoy. Please let us keep it this way.

    Stamati, I really do think that we should actually ask the islanders for their views on the comments or perhaps there are not enough M’s on the key board!

    I will publish an article on the making of raki on Amorgos very shortly.

    Kind regards,

    Paul Delahunt-Rimmer

  7. Katsaros August 14, 2010

    Please don’t gather every shepherd here to fill these pages with “m…kies” etc I’m sorry I wasn’t clear enough in this comment, but I didn’t mean that every food was imported from outside and that it wasn’t possible to eat katsikies or arnia from Amorgos, nor vegetables. Regarding to the wine, I’m glad to hear that some restaurants offer amorgian wine and raki ; but I must say that every time i asked for, i was answered that there wasn’t enough wine product on the island, and every barrel i saw in restaurants was of (good) cretan wine. People who told me how they made their own psimeni said that there wasn’t enough amorgian raki, so they used (good) cretan raki. Cretan raki makes anyway good amorgian psimeni raki, i don’t discuss this. What i wanted to stress, is that there could perhaps be MORE local products, and sometimes better advertisment about it. For the wine, perhaps i didn’t go to the right places? So, next time i go to Amorgos, where in Egiali area am I to find local wine? Am I to find “mavro glyko” somewhere?

  8. stamatis August 20, 2010

    I’d like to know what do you mean with “m…kies”, in order to understand the meaning of the first sentence. As to where to find “mavro glyko”, ask Nikola from Panorama taverna, Argyris from Santouraki tavern, Stefanos from Vigla restaurant, Nikitas from Aegialis hotel & spa, Nikos from Nikos taverna, Vagelis “Tamtakos” the store with traditional products next to Naftilos at Aegiali port… In any case, if you insist a bit more and show a bit of respect and perhaps a bit of understanding, you will be suprised what you can get from the Amorgians!

    I definetely agree that the local could use better advertisment. Yes, perhaps more local products, got any suggestions, any good ideas…?

    • Katsaros August 21, 2010

      I was just guessing what Paul meant when he wrote “perhaps there are not enough M’s on the key board”, i.e. the kind of words they would use to describe my comment. Anyway, misunderstanding or not, my sentence is equivocal, I shouldn’t have written it, better forget it.

      I was pleased to read Paul’s article on raki-making ; since i will go to Amorgos this autumn, perhaps will i smell the flavor in the air.

  9. Stamati, I think there was some misunderstanding of my reference to the ‘M’ word!

    OK, how about setting up a local produce fair for YPERIA 2011. I would suggest a neutral venue such as the community hall in Tholaria. Each producer or establishment would have their own stall with small samples of local wines, raki, cheese etc which they produce or offer in their tavernas and restaurants. There should be good support as it would give people a chance to also promote their businesses at the event. Maybe also have some of the equipment used on display e.g. a raki still. We may however need a few stretchers standing by to convey the delegates to the bus!

    Kind regards,

    Paul D-R

    • erwin August 23, 2010

      Good idea! But you can go a step further and motivate local farmers to establish a PERMANENT STORE where they present and sell their homemade products – guests would love it! For instance in Austrian tourism destinations farmers successfully established outlets to show and sell their products in a partnership model.
      Present the concept at the Yperia conference and make it happen.

  10. Iris August 22, 2010

    Paul, that’s a very good idea! A local produce fair, great.

  11. Whilst I appreciate that the, ‘guests would love it’, with the greatest of respect, you cannot create an industry on Amorgos modelled on one which works in Austria. You are lucky having tourists probably 365 days a year. Our high season is just six weeks. This year it was probably less. What is this ‘permanent store’ going to do for eleven months a year? Who is going to pay for the overheads for a whole year? Who is going to staff it high season when everyone is busy running their pensions, hotels and tavernas? Why do we need a store when, as Stamatis says, if you just ask politely, you can find out where to buy local produce. Where do you think we all go to buy local produce? This is not Crete or one of the other large producing areas of Greece. What are the restaurants and tavernas going to do for local supplies when visitors have bought us out? Do you prefer your salads and meals here to be prepared from local olive oil or that imported from Crete? Do you want to drink local wines and raki produced here or imported? And, what are we to do for supplies in the winter? Sure, we do export certain produce such as olive oil but not in great quantity and it is in bulk. Bottling, marketing and selling on the island doesn’t make commercial sense. And finally, the dreaded EU. Have you any idea of the limitations on commercial sales of local produce and the licensing regulations? It is a nightmare and just not worth the effort or cost.

    There is however nothing to stop visitors going into the mountains and picking herbs or climbing around the cliffs for capers to take home. Olives and goats are out of bounds! Also of course certain countries restrict certain fresh agricultural imports.

    Anyway, we want to make sure people have to come here to enjoy these things. We don’t want you throwing dinner parties for your friends in Vienna with our local olive oil and wine. We want you to tell them to visit Amorgos and enjoy these delights here with the views of our mountains, the sound of our music and experience this culture. Not with the Alps and Mozart (both of which, incidentally, I enjoy immensely – just thought I better mention that!).

    Erwin, et al, however, please keep the ideas coming. In management consultancy terms it is called ‘helicopter vision’. When you are so involved in a business or environment you often do not see the opportunities that abound. It often requires an outsider to spot them. Getting the local people to accept these ideas is however a different matter – believe me!

    Kind regards,
    Paul D-R

    • erwin August 24, 2010

      paul, maybe “guests would love it” sounds a bit fluffy. there is no intention from me to give you tips about things you know best by yourself and i definetly do know nothing about – sorry for this!

      i just wanted to mention a situation where people were faced with similar tourism specific problems (maybe two or more decades before) and how they tried to master it.

      your arguments are pretty similar to the ones as i heard at this times (and until now) in austria. but, meanwhile some of the clever destinations (not only the super-professional-around-the-year-tourism-factories) set up permanent “flexible and adequate” structures that will be able to face (and sometimes even solve) their problems in individually, continously and deeper looking processes. some of them even organized conferences and summits.

      the key questions in this low-entrance-barrier but as much more difficult travel business seem to ask for identity and culture of locals and also guests they want to “invite”. just at the moment we work on a winter destination project under-non growing (number of beds) guidelines. adventurously and accepted the “useless” strategic approach is done in cooperation with university of applied arts in vienna, with surprising result for the more than special situation of the 17 citizens of this 1.200 hotel bed village. as it looks in the future they will listen more intensive to mozarts music than to simply live from mozarts glory.

      promised – now and in the future: no olive oil, vine, champagne, water, air, … from “your” island on vienna parties – just, your permission assumed, a little soap from iamata. we definetly don’t want to make amorgos poor ;-).


Leave a reply