Mykonos, Cyclades
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Mykonos municipality braces for tough year, looks for virtual boost

One of Greece’s richest municipalities, passed a budget targeting infrastructure projects under the weight of severely reduced revenues brought on by the pandemic.

On the jet set island of Mykonos, local authorities are getting ready for another tough year. The Mykonos council approved this week its budget for next year that includes a sharp drop in revenues as tourism officials guess how many holiday makers may visit the island this year.

One of Greece’s richest municipalities, passed a budget targeting infrastructure projects under the weight of severely reduced revenues brought on by the pandemic.

Mayor Konstantinos Koukas stressed that "despite the unfavorable health and economic situation, we are using all the financial tools to better prepare the island for the new tourist season." Although it is considered to be one of the most resilient tourist markets in the country, officials are scratching their heads over the kind of season that is coming up.

Mykonos could easily beat the central government forecast (for a recovery in visitor numbers to 60% of 2019 levels), or the year could evolve into one where businesses struggle to make ends meet in one of Europe’s most popular summer party destinations.

According to the 2021 budget, a very small reduction of operating and investment costs are forecast but a significant contraction in revenues is on the cards (compared to 2019) with income from different sources down from 400% to 1,656%.

Pelican comes back to life

As the competition for attracting tourists remains fierce this year, Mykonos is resorting to new technologies to better prepare, working on a new virtual reality of the island.

In November, the municipality approved a tender to move ahead with a virtual and augmented reality of the island in a project costing 329,000 euros paid for by EU funds.

In particular, the project envisages the development of a virtual reality application "Peter Pelekan's Mykonos Virtual Guide". The application will use the virtual tour in 3D representations of points of interest and routes in Mykonos Town and in "Little Venice", while with a combination of cinematic virtual reality techniques (Cinematic VR 360o) and virtual reality with 3D VR graphics and virtual guide Petros the Pelican (mascot of Mykonos), information will be given about the sights of the island and visitors will be guided in their tour in five languages.

At four selected points of interest (airport, port, town hall, museum) appropriate virtual reality equipment will be placed for the public, so that visitors can wear virtual reality masks to immerse themselves in a 3D graphic environment and obtain a virtual taste of Mykonos, with the famous pelican reviving, inspiring and guiding them.

In addition, an augmented reality (AR) application "Mykonos AR Augmented Reality" will be created. This application will combine a real and virtual tour in 5 parts of the island (Cycladic houses with architectural and folklore interest, Kato Myloi etc.), so that the visitor can enjoy an improved touring experience, without having a tour guide.

The third application to be created within the project will be called "Mykonos Giants Hunt" and is a digital augmented reality game, which will be based on the ancient Greek myth and the hunting down of the last titanic Giants by Hercules. Finally, there will also be the creation of an application of a 3D game "Gaming Delos: The Myths", with the aim of discovering important archeological findings in Delos.

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