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North Sea islanders vote on 'reunification'

The Local · 26 Jun 2011, 11:08

Published: 26 Jun 2011 11:08 GMT+02:00

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The around 1,200 eligible voters are deciding if the one-square-kilometre main island will be reconnected with a smaller neighboring island to create more beaches and space to build hotels.

Advocates hope the plan would attract more tourists and could even help halt a steady population decline.

The two parts were physically connected until 1720, when a storm tide washed away a land bridge. The unification plan is to fill the shallow waters between the two islands with sand.

They are the only German islands not in the immediate vicinity of the coast. Around 70 kilometres from the mainland, the archipelago is an attractive day-trip destination for tourists. Last year some 300,000 visitors came for a day out while around 60,000 stayed overnight.

But critics say the plan meant to boost tourism, the islands' most important industry, could backfire. Many tourists come to Helgoland precisely because they see it as a unique North Sea refuge, attractive because there is little organized tourism and no overdevelopment.

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The Local/DPA/DAPD/kdj

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

18:05 June 26, 2011 by MJMH
What if they reconnect the island and then turn the land into a park or some sort of nature preserve instead of building hotels and that way attract nature lovers.
20:28 June 28, 2011 by whpmgr
If they do that, what happens if a great amount of tourists come and there are no rooms for them to stay in. To build the tourist trade, you have to have available rooms, eateries, rental shops for Bikes or mopeds, then you have to have people who live there, and as such, they need a place to stay. You build a great deal of infrastructure to be able to support teh tourists that come to leave their money and have fun.
22:09 June 28, 2011 by MJMH
Ever hear of having a hotel or restaurant reservation. Limit the amount of visitors and then more people will want to come because they think they are missing out.
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