A letter from frequent visitors of Kardamena……

Letter to the Mayor of Kardamena 4th July 2013

Dear Mr. Mayor

It is with a heavy heart we write to you about the current situation in the village of Kardamena. We first visited Kardamena in 1987 and fell in love with the village, its people and the Island, and we have continued out love affair with Kardamena returning on holiday twice a year for a 2 week vacation each time.

We have been devastated by the decline of the village this year in particular.  Where there were once beautiful shops, nice bars and restaurants there are now empty premises and quite frankly it is an eyesore for the first time visitors to Kardamena.  We feel this devastation has arisen due to the exceedingly large number of All Inclusive Hotels that surround the village. Whilst we acknowledge there is a need for this type of holiday we feel the overkill far far outweighs the necessity for this type of holiday experience, as there are many people who still prefer the freedom to choose where they stay and where they eat and drink. There are many small fine hotels and apartments who do not have the money or the clout to promote themselves and we feel that you and your Council are failing the good people of Kardamena.

Having talked to guests in our hotel and around the village they too feel that more needs to be done to promote the excellent facilities n the village and there are people who like us come back year after year to our small, friendly, family run hotel. This loyalty you will not get from All Inclusive Hotel guests.

We now ask you and the Council to ask yourselves are you doing enough to help your people – our opinion would be no. Therefore it is now time for you to take control, promote the village of Kardamena and put a stop to the All Inclusives bleeding it dry.

Also, it is not made easy for people who are travelling independently to find flights at reasonable prices. Tour companies, especially TUI, only want to fill All Inclusive accommodation and therefore Flight Only is very expensive. It is easier and cheaper to travel to other Greek Island as they have many more low cost airlines flying to them. Perhaps you and the Council should address this problem before the independent traveller looks elsewhere for their holidays.

On a final note, in 2007 we attended a Dance Festival in the village and at this event we were presented with a Certificate and local products on behalf of the Mayor of Heraklidon which made us immensely proud to be part of the village.

Yours sincerely

Maureen and David Gibbons

Manchester

  • carrie

    well said …..we have been going to kardamena for about 6 years now and since our first trip we now have two young children and find it hard to find flights cheap enough for us all as the airlines insist on charging full rate for toddlers over 2 which is absurd !! Its a lovely place with fab people (The Stone Roses bar in particular !!) but we noticed the decline of the local shops when we were last there last year.

    We just hope that something can be done to save this gem of a town as we would love to be able to continue coming as our children grow up.

    From a saddened regular and her family

    Carrie Maybury.

  • JungleJim

    It’s just a case of that’s the way it is. Everybody I work beside is going AI, because that’s what they can afford and unfortunately bigger businesses are crushing smaller ones all over Europe. The high streets in the UK are no different and the larger companies are taking over everywhere. So, your big hotels are not going to just go away and they’ve got the money to make sure they get those seats on the plane. Very sad, but very true

  • brian Pinfold

    been going to kardamena for 25 years now.sometimes for a month sometimes for 2 weeks. I entirely agree with the comments from Maureen and David Gibbons the all inclusives have spoiled the village. Not only for the tourists but also for the people and their businesses. Yes the flights are too expensive. We stop with some very good greek friends who have 3 appartments and a taverna below but they are struggling because, it is cheaper to go in a hotel package holiday because of the cost of the flights and tourists are not spending the money in the bars because they stay in the hotels. Time to do something now before it is too late.
    Brian Pinfold

  • elaine murray

    Bravo well put.We live on Rhodes and the same thing is happening here.Small businesses are being ousted out and the replacements don’t suit all tastes.Soon we will only be able to book all inc. if this carries on.Elaine Murray Kiotari Rhodes.

  • Yvon

    I totally agree , I live in Rhodes for almost 5 years, it’s the same over here and I believe on other greek Islands…the all inc. taking over. here also a problem that all the hotels are ‘packed “with Russians. I am not a racist but I hear from many Dutch , German people ( work as a rep) its a problem.If u are between people who think they bought the hotel while they booked a holiday…and very little of your own country… People don’t go out , not even for a coffee…many empty shops, every where All incl. The all inc. are killing the best , nice family hotels!Many didn’t even open this year! Big Big problem!

  • http://www.yepi10.net/ Yepi

    We hope that the mayor will pay special attention to the requirements of this letter

  • http://www.frivjogo.info/ Friv Jogos

    I think what is so real and shared by all of their thoughts. Whatever it was also very much appreciated and acknowledged it emotionally.

  • http://www.frivjogo.info/ Friv Jogos

    These are truly shared, to believe what is written by the objective.

  • denis

    Couldn’t agree more we’ve been going since 89 too along with many regulars we know.Certain areas look like war zone and first timers who do not know the village must surely be put off for life.The all inclusive guests put no money into the local Greek economy with there money being siphoned away by the international owned hotelliers.If some of the money thrown at the hotels had been given to the appartment and smaller real hotelliers it would have helped .Breaks my heart to see beautiful beach front appartments unused and falling into dereliction

  • Salvador

    Whilst i whole heartedly
    agree and furthermore sympathise with all the comments expressed here. I have
    to ask myself are the ‘All inclusive’s entirely to blame for the demise and run
    down look of the town and the loss of numbers visiting and staying in the
    Village each year?

    Looking back prior to the
    recession the island and Kardamena enjoyed some of its most prosperous times
    financially. 1000′s of tourists flocking here filling all the rooms and Hotels
    even sleeping in beds on the roofs one senior resident told me! As i understand
    it although these times were reaped financially residents despaired of the systematic
    destructive furor it seemed to cause. Drunken disorderly behavior, mess and a general
    playground for the mindless. Of course those times have long since gone and now
    the area and some of the businesses cling on to what can only be described as
    ‘the hangover from times gone by’ hoping in some way that it will return? This
    was surprisingly or not was certainly the view from a young local who by all
    accounts had his own business in the area, his view was that it would be
    approximately 5-10 years before the good times would return and seemed happy to
    wait, I wondered what he envisioned as ‘good times’ I certainly hope that it
    does not go back to the way it was as I too feel that the masses descending
    once again on this beautiful albeit disheveled village that has so much more to
    offer would be not what the place needs.

    What it does perhaps need
    is some sort of direction or plan? A vision for the future, firstly it needs to
    understand what needs to be changed, how it can be changed and more importantly
    recognise that change is needed if it is to prosper once again. Change can be a
    scary thing and talk of change in the town seems to be greeted with instant
    confrontation in some quarters with repeated phrases like ‘nothing will
    change’, ‘there is no money’ ‘the all inclusive’s have killed the area’. Not
    once in all the conversations i have had has anyone that has used these phrases
    has anyone stopped to consider that in some part change is needed, it doesn’t
    have to be whole sale modernisation (this would destroy the very essence and
    character of the village and would certainly take money to do so) not once has
    anyone of these opinions offered an idea or initiative that could effect
    positive change so here we have a problem, a dead end whereby if these opinions
    become the mantra for the Village then the village continues in a downward
    spiral and with it any hope for revival.

    I was dumbfounded to hear
    many of these negative comments from a nightclub owner in town whose own
    business was near empty night after night. I questioned the lack of motivation
    and apathy towards looking at new ideas and ways to regenerate the Village,
    after all he had plenty to say on what was wrong and who was to blame but again
    no idea or interest in contributing anything that may lead to a new way
    forward. It may sound harsh but as a business owner i firmly believe you should
    take responsibility in promoting the Villages best interests if not you should
    be supportive and open to any and all new ideas at least, after all those ideas
    and initiatives could be responsible for continued tourism and investment into
    the area which in turn provide income for your own business but to be
    dismissive is hugely naive and attributes only to the negativity that
    suppresses and stifles potential growth and you become part of the problem
    itself.

    So what is the solution? I myself tend to look at the
    problems that exist first, break them down , understand what causes them, look
    at their weaknesses and then look at potential positives if any that can be
    gained from them.

    Let’s start with one of the big ones and a favorite that
    many seem to attribute to the problems in the area: The ‘All Inclusive’s’ those great big ‘Concrete
    Palaces’ where supposedly your every need is met and catered for and everything
    is just perfect. Now myself could easily
    be one of those types to enjoy this kind of holiday after all I work hard so
    why not do as little as I can when I’m only holiday. Speaking from 1st
    hand experience of ‘Blue Domes’ and ‘Summer Palace’ it was approximately 3
    hours if not before that I realized beyond
    the gleaming façade and immaculate pools it’s a soul less and lifeless place
    where everyone is marshaled about and lives on top of each other for a week or
    two. The food is bland the entertainment non-existent and the beaches even when
    packed, which they always are, are so
    quiet you can hear the fish talking.
    There is a distinct lack of interaction between certain nationalities
    and this causes a tension. This is a place whereby people look at your wrist first
    to identify where you are staying and then judge you accordingly, it’s almost a
    social ranking identity. You see you pay different prices to stay in different
    sections within the complex and you wear a bracelet that identifies you to each
    section. So to those who consider themselves to be more wealthy they obviously
    stay at the more exclusive sides of the complex and literally walk around with
    their arms in the air as well as their noses. Within literally hours I was
    itching to get out of the place. It seems I wasn’t the only one, the bus down
    to Kardamena was full. I had open conversations with the whole bus about the
    good and bad points of the Hotel complex
    it was as if people could finally talk out loud. When I asked where everyone
    was going to the answer was unanimous, in search of good food, shopping and signs of real life!

    Whilst my observations alone may not be indicative of the
    6000 visitors each year to the concrete palaces it certainly was interesting to
    know that after paying all that money to stay in those palaces ($150 per night)
    there are very real things that we as people desire over everything else and that’s
    freedom and social interaction. Breaks from rank and file, after all isn’t that
    why we come on holiday?

    In kardamena my bracelet which was beginning to feel like a shackle
    or handcuff was insignificant now and everywhere I looked people were laughing,
    drinking and eating. I could get lost in the crowds indistinguishable from
    anyone else, meander through the quaint shopping parades, sit on a bench at the
    Marina and watch people drift by without a care in the world. One of my best
    moments was down at Banana Beach when the full moon was rising over the sea.
    Crowds gathered there taking pictures, there was a real romantic air and vibe that
    was tangible and just simply did not exist at the Hotel complex it was one of
    the defining moments of my stay and certainly one of the most memorable.

    I think I can safely say that the complex has its weaknesses
    and that the Village can certainly benefit from them. What it does need to recognize
    and believe more than anything that it has something very real and very special
    about it and it needs to take more pride and belief in what it has to offer and
    look at ways of maximizing it. It has to let go of the past stop catering for
    the 1980’s crowds and adopt perhaps a 1960’s cosmopolitan mentality for the
    modern era.

    As it stands and I hate to say this but I doubt very much if
    in its present condition if any of those 6000 guests of the afore mentioned all
    inclusive would swap their modern clean apartments and studios for some of the accommodations
    currently being offered here but they certainly do venture here for something
    and they are looking to spend money which they can’t do in the AI’s.

    There are areas within the Village that do little to enhance
    the look and feel of the place and are certainly detrimental in convincing
    people to spend or invest their money here. The problem of litter is a massive issue, one
    that can be reduced. The efforts of the ‘Keep Kardamena Tidy’ group is highly
    commendable and one that should continued to be supported by everyone . There
    is a huge shortage of refuse bins in the area and this alone must surely be a
    main factor as to why so much litter exist?

    If this is understood to be true and the council cannot be
    convinced to invest a little money to provide this very basic amenity then it
    should be the responsibility of every resident and business owner to ensure
    that the areas immediately around their property or business are kept clean and
    tidy this must be the very least we must do surely?

    If the Local council continues to say that there are no
    funds available for investment and people do not trust the government with
    their money then we have to examine new ways and initiatives to do it ourselves.
    We can no longer stand by and continue to blame one another for the problems
    that exist. There is no winner in this debate and will continue for a long time
    to come and for as long as it is cited as the point of every argument it will
    always be in where it does not belong. The only way to end it is to take
    matters into our own hands and invest our time, intelligence and perhaps our
    own money into bringing about the small changes that will continue to attract
    people to the area.

    In short I believe that Kardamena can certainly compete with
    the AI’s in terms of entertainment and providing real life interaction and
    freedom from the personality vacuum that the AI’s seem to create. If the people of the Village can remove
    themselves from their current state of inertia and dedicate their time and
    efforts to giving ideas and supporting each other to improve the Village and
    believe that things can be changed then it will quickly benefit and reap the
    rewards. It will build strength and perhaps more importantly establish real
    independence for itself which in turn will be instrumental in bringing
    attention to the wider issues that exist and that it needs help with resolving.

    The AI’s it must not be forgot provide a great many jobs for
    many residents of the area and although this may not always be well paid it
    provides security to families that reside in Kardamena, can the same be said for those business owners that have no
    interest in contributing to the area and instead continue to employ other
    nationalities for season work on equally low pay?

    More importantly the AI’s attract a great many numbers of
    tourists here each year which in turn filter down to the Village if they did
    not exist could the current level of accommodation within the town provide
    enough in terms of comfort levels and amenities that tourists these days expect
    as a basic? The answer quite simply is No!

    Having said all this I have not managed to convince myself that the AI’s are totally to blame but I
    do believe there is more the village could do to help itself?!

    I understand that my comments here are open to
    interpretation and that some may take exception to what has been written. My
    views are just that ‘my views’ they are not designed to cause bad feeling nor
    are they intended in any way to discriminate against any person, business or organization
    within the village. I have only the
    Village’s best interest at heart and my heart belongs to this Village which is
    why I have chosen this place to stay, to
    raise a family in complete safety and build a business that will serve the
    community . So if I have inadvertently offended it anyone it is not my
    intention. My actions to dedicate myself to this town and contribute to
    improving the community are my intention, if this offends you I make no
    apology.

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