All-inclusive resorts in Crete
All-inclusive resorts are a new trend that seems to be gaining fast in popularity in the larger resorts of the North coast of Crete. More and more tour operators (especially, it seems, in Britain and eastern European countries) push it in their offers, probably because there is a demand for the cheapest possible holidays in the sun. In any case, you notice more and more people wearing plastic bracelets of different colours that signal belonging (and right of access) to specific AI resorts.
Why the success and what's good about all-inclusive?
- It's a cheap way of having a holiday - or at least it can be cheap if you shop carefully.
- Because it (supposedly) includes everything you can budget your holiday costs precisely.
- Some all-inclusive resorts may have entertainment for children which is useful if you prefer to have a holiday from the kids instead of a holiday with the kids.
- It is easy to completely avoid meeting the local population if you don't like "foreigners".
What's to say against it
It seems that more and more people are voicing dismay at the negative effects of all-inclusive hotels. You can read that side of things at All-inclusive disaster (and make sure to read the comments). But below is a quick list of what the main objections are:
- "You get what you pay for" applies to all-inclusive too and low cost generally means low quality food. The hotels are squeezed so hard by tour operators that they cannot afford to get good quality ingredients but have to aim for the cheapest ones.
- The free and unlimited alcohol is generally nasty and often watered down. You'll still get drunk if you drink enough of it though.
- Staff will try their best (they need the job) but they are generally underpaid and terribly overworked so you'll have to understand that they can only do so much.
- You are participating in exploitative tourism: all-inclusive resorts provide almost no jobs for locals (most of the staff will be underpaid eastern Europeans), buys almost no local products and most of what you pay for your holiday will stay with foreign tour operators.
- The spread of all-inclusive is fast killing local businesses that developed over the last two or three decades to cater for holiday makers. Now bars and restaurants are empty and closing down because people staying in the hotels don't go out anymore.
- Finally, by staying in your anonymous holiday ghetto consuming tasteless (but plentiful) food and bland in-house entertainment you will manage to completely miss the point of Crete: its warm people, fabulous food, stunning landscapes and rich culture.