Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is threatening to limit cruise ship visits to the country’s idyllic islands.

The premier wants to help islands cope with what he calls “over-tourism” following the Covid pandemic.

“I think we’ll do it next year,” Mitsotakis told Bloomberg.

New rules could mean restrictions placed on the total number of berths or the introduction of auctions for slots, the report said.

Tourism accounts for about 25% of Greece’s economy, with record numbers of tourists travelling after the ending of pandemic measures.

Bloomberg put the total of visitors last year at 32.7m, 18% up on 2022.

Numbers were up 25% in the first three months of this year.

The report claims limits would not put much of a dent in these figures.

But Mitsotakis noted a strain on the most popular destinations.

He said the island of Santorini has a problem, with the sheer number of vessels docking potentially putting off other tourists.

‘Can’t afford it’

“There are people spending a lot of money to be on Santorini and they don’t want the island to be swamped,” Mitsotakis said. “Plus the island can’t afford it, even in terms of security.”

Santorini had 800 ships call in 2023, disgorging 1.3m people. That was 17% higher than in 2022.

The island has only 15,000 residents.

The party island of Mykonos logged 749 cruise ship calls in 2023, up 23% year on year.

In 2021, Italy banned large cruise ships from the canal leading to Venice’s centre.