An Interview with Yannis Spilanis, April 2024 | Hosted by Nicolas Stephanou

Yannis Spilanis serves as the Director of both the Aegean Sustainable Tourism Observatory and the Local and Insular Development Laboratory, organizations that fall under the World Tourism Organization's umbrella and are part of the Global Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories.

He recently attended a conference in Paros on April 13 and 14, 2024, titled "Transition strategies towards a different development model for Paros and the Cyclades."

In this brief interview, he underscores the conflict between broad government policies designed to attract large investments and encourage economies of scale, and the essence and identity of the Cyclades, which are inherently based on smaller scales and limited resources.

The main competitive edge

However, this unique identity is the main competitive edge of the Cycladic Islands, and compromising it would thrust the islands into a challenging standardized global competitive market.

Professor Spilanis warns that continuing with the existing 'business as usual' strategy will lead the local communities to a dead end. He calls for a critical reassessment and alteration of this developmental approach before it's too late. He believes the crucial step is convincing the local communities that maintaining the current path means losing everything for them, while a shift in strategy could offer substantial gains. It is essential for a significant portion of the island residents to exert pressure on higher levels of government to abandon their detrimental policies and embrace change.