The people of Methana
Methana is a typical town of the 60's and 70's in Greece and its inhabitants live mainly from agriculture (olives, wine and fishing), construction and local tourism. Methana used to be famous and popular for its spas. Unfortunately, time "froze" on Methana and many developments were missed.
The peninsula has been in a steady downturn for about 25 years. Ideas to end this through sustainable tourism were ignored or rather obstructed by the official side.
An aging population is setting the tone. For them it is more important that a concrete path to their olive grove is cemented than creating something for sustainable tourism. Everyone lives for themselves and sees only their private interests.
There is no sense of community. Even if the Methans are actually quiet, hospitable people, it's like everywhere in Europe - foreign (financial) guests are welcome as long as they don't stay and settle down permanently and "interfere".
New ideas are nice, but are easily forgotten. Local politicians are always elected, who belong to their own clan or who promise to create jobs in the public sector. When they are in power, they are only interested in EU funds, which then seep away into construction projects but do not create sustainable development.
So the connection to tourism has been missed, the spas have not been modernized and provided with contemporary facilities. The healing springs have not yet been certified. So Methana sleeps.
More and more young people are moving from Methana to Athens or even abroad. The downturn can hardly be stopped. Hotels and shops are empty. The season starts at the end of June and ends in September. Hardly a shop, café or hotel is worth to run economically.
Many Methans are disappointed or embittered and withdraw. The crisis in Methana did not begin with the EU thumbscrew, but in the 1990s.
At that time it was enough that the patients of the Greek health insurance companies (IKA) came to Methana for healing cures. Over time, however, competing spa towns became more popular (Loutraki, Aedipsos) and Methana offered nothing that the others could not do (better).
Most Methans showed little interest in the other sights of their peninsula. There is no sustainable marketing of the peninsula to this day. And the merger of the municipality of Methana with Galatas under the government project "Kapodistrias" took Methana's last chances.
The municipality of Galatas, which also provides the mayor, has little interest in marketing Methana for tourism. Nevertheless, they continue to do business as they are used to.
Infrastructure that could attract tourists is neglected, ignored and ruined (Nisakidisco, spas, hiking trails, geological and ancient sites).
Sustainable development concepts have been around for more than 25 years, but since they are not created by Greeks, they are ignored.
Is there any hope for Methana?
What does the generation born between 1960 and 1970 leave behind for their children?
What chances do young people have on Methana if there is no tourism?
I still love Methana and my friends there and I love visiting Methana too, but it saddens me that they don't support development and ignore their foreign friends (in the "best" case). I've been fighting for this region since 1986, which deserves a better fate, but my lifetime isn't infinite either. At some point I too will have to slow down my commitment, because up to now Methana has been my "topic no. 1".
This website tries to keep finding friends for Methana, even though the officials "copy" this website (www.methana.com.gr is ridiculous...), use photos from it and also ignore suggestions.
It could also bring many advantages to the community of Galatas-Methana and thus to all local people so easily and without great expense. But people who have professional experience in tourism, marketing and who know the region perfectly are still ignored.
The Methans have an "ambassador" for their homeland abroad who has been promoting them for 30 years...
Every foreign guest who comes to Methana because of this website is a little help for Methana. Maybe he can encourage the Methans?
"The steady drip wears away the stone..." When people see that we foreigners like Methana and that we are enthusiastic about the nature and the sights, maybe one day this will make them embrace the opportunities of sustainable tourism recognize it and use it?