The region offers tourism opportunities albeit not for the common tourist.
Firstly the visitor should come prepared to face the dominance of the greenhouses in the landscape and in general in the life of the area. Second the visitor who stays in the village has to realize that access to the beaches is a matter of driving 30-40 minutes in order to reach a seashore for bathing that is at a distance from the greenhouses. Clean and beautiful beaches are found in the town of Ierapetra in the village of Mirtos and in the east towards Agia Fotia and Makrigialos and Istro.
Purity of the people whose life does not depend on the exploitative tourist industry.
For those interested in walking, the mountains around Anatoli offer a chance to explore and experience the sights of wild flowers, most of which bloom between February and May, and the aromas of many wild herbs especially during the summer. Unfortunately many of the old donkey paths have been destroyed as the construction of roads for motor cars has cut across most of them and in many cases the roads have been constructed right over the old paths forever destroying the beautiful cobbled paths.
One of the biggest concerns and difficulties for the growth of tourism is the limited availability of water both for drinking and for general household needs as well as for irrigation. The village is supplied with water from a very old spring, whose reservoir is relatively shallow and thus strongly affected by the amount of annual rainfall. In the year of 2006 the pronounced drought has placed severe constraints on the available water making it nearly impossible to satisfy the water needs of the village.
For years the people of the village have dealt with such cyclical weather phenomena and had found ways to effectively and efficiently manage their water resources. Modern life, along with the characteristics of western lifestyles, with its heavy demand on resources (water, energy etc.) is placing an unsustainable burden on the water resources of the village.
Besides the availability of water, the treatment of the waste stream and the raw sewage that results from increased human activity is another major problem for the village and one which could have direct public health consequences. Until recently the lack of central plumping systems was dealt with by each household in a sustainable and health conscious way by composting and recycling all wastes. The current sewage infrastructure is grossly inadequate and it boarders on the edge of a public health disaster. Many homes are connected to a central sewage system which brings the raw material at the edge of the village and indeed dangerously close to the gardens of unsuspecting residents. The raw material is not treated but rather let to settle in an unprotected environment with all the dangers that this implies in terms of mosquito infestations and other adverse environmental consequences. It is our hope that this matter will be resolved in the near future in order to decrease the mosquito population which has exponentially increased in the recent years in an environmentally safe and healthy way.
Can tourism exist within the framework of the greenhouse industry?
We believe that the answer is yes. It is however important and imperative that the characteristics of the area are presented accurately and the connection is made with the people who have an interest in the qualities offered by the region. The tourist who will appreciate Anatoli and the region of Ierapetra in general is the one who sees the dominance of the greenhouse structures not as an eye sore but rather as the asset that they are: an innovative and effective way for people to engage in farming and participate in the creation of wealth in a very democratic way that no tourist industry, no matter how it is structured can offer comparable economic benefits.