Interview: Maro Voulgari | Photo: Nikos Zappas
The island has terrific prospects. This creates expectations and obligations
He is one of the first persons you see when you approach the square of Naousa. He struggles to keep it picturesque, hospitable and free of cars. After all, visitors have travelled thousands of miles to enjoy a coffee or a stroll here. Argiris Tsantanis is the first one they ask for every kind of information.
Apparently, you have a privileged shop as it is one of the first we see when heading for the port of Naousa.
I am before the port, at Naousa’s square. The square is something different; it has its own role. It is not a parking. We must keep this space functional and the view to the sea unhindered. It is one of the most picturesque squares of Greece and at the same time the most neglected one. Some things are elementary as regards the picture we must give as an island. I enjoy my role as the person, who virtually welcomes the visitors, gives information and in fact I substitute for the information office which is also neglected. If we want to develop our tourism, we must take care of these deficiencies.
Your shop has now adopted a “post tourist esthetics”, having left behind the commonplace souvenirs, it promotes more original and qualitative mementos. Do you believe that the era of the plaster windmills is now over?
Unfortunately, it is not over yet. As regards me I have made my choice, I have chosen the clientele I want and I go along on the basis of good taste… Of course, the visitors’ demands are also higher. The people who visit us are more cultivated, more sophisticated, more demanding… It is not accidental that especially Naousa attracts people like that.
Is it the public that adjusts to the shop or vice versa?
You cannot appeal to everybody, because you will have no character. If you appeal to a specific public, they will recognize you and will visit you. In this way you acquire loyal clients, it is something like a filter. Many visitors will enter the shop and, in the end, you will keep those you want.
What about a prolongation of the season. What do you propose?
Surely, we the shop owners should give the example. I stay open all year round and I find it inappropriate that some shops close even before the season is over. They send out a message of quick and easy money and the consumer realizes it. The businessmen must understand that they must return the social benefit to the Parian society by staying open as long as possible. Only in this way a place attracts the visitor’s interest. Now with the airport, we have the opportunity to prolong the season and increase the number of winter visitors.