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Breathing new life into Halki’s Horio

Unleashing the potential of an abandoned historic settlement through its transformation into an iconic cultural ecosystem.


Once home to the mythological Titans, appearing in historic writings as an ally to the Athenians, boasting an ancient acropolis, the Greek island of Halki is marked for its archaeological significance. However, the smallest inhabited island in the Dodecanese archipelago is facing a very modern challenge.

Now home to a permanent population of approximately300 inhabitants, the 28-kilometre-squared island a stone’s throw away from Rhodes is experiencing significant hindrance to its economic and social growth. Demographic stagnation, alongside an aging population, has raised concerns for the small island, suffering near abandonment.

With the untapped treasure’s lifespan at stake, the team at Deloitte Greece were determined to leverage their expertise and redesign the heartbeat of the island, the village of Horio, ultimately propelling Halki’s revitalisation.

“As part of Deloitte’s corporate social responsibility activities, we were pleased to deliver the strategic plan for the revival of the medieval village Horio in Halki. The project aspires to attract more tourists and permanent residents both for Halki but also the surrounding area. Our main goal is to increase the local population and reinvigorate the island.”

Maria Ziouvelou

Brand, Communications and CSR Leader at Deloitte Greece

Collaborating to make an impact

Under the umbrella of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)– the project aims to increase Halki’s population by reviving the old, abandoned capital of the island, Horio.

Embracing cross-team collaboration, the project team set out to find a solution fit for purpose. Carrying out extensive research on revival strategies, examining case studies, and utilising Deloitte’s expertise, the Consulting team implemented a rigorous approach to problem-solving.

Bringing Halki up to speed

For Agamemnon Papastergiou, Head of Strategy, Analytics, Mergers and Acquisitions at Deloitte Greece, the plan devised by Deloitte is crucial to ensuring a prosperous future for the island whilst providing an invaluable opportunity to treasure ancient Greek history. He said, “The revival plan for Halki's Horio outlines a long-term development model for the island. This plan is built upon the restoration and utilisation of the ancient building infrastructure of Horio, which dates back to before the 4th Century BC, and has remained abandoned for many years”.

Deloitte’s vision for Horio revolved around the transformation of the entire island. Among others, Deloitte assessed the current condition of buildings and possible uses,road infrastructure, electricity network and telecommunication reach. Monuments of archaeological interest were also assessed, and long-term strategic goals identified for the development of Horio. Formulating a model of sustainable economic development based not only on tourism, but also identifying a “target population” willing to live on the island.

We analysed how to boost economic activity beyond the tourist season by attracting young people with a focus on employment. We tried to redefine the identity of the village and connect it to fields such as art, innovation, entrepreneurship, sustainability and tourism.

Upon implementing the action plan, Horio’s transformation into a cultural ecosystem will shape a new identity for Halki and will drive the island’s economic and social growth, resulting in the long-awaited increase in the island’s permanent and periodic population.

The active cultural ecosystem facilitated by the revival plan includes exhibition and museum spaces hosting temporary and permanent exhibitions, as well as spaces for creative artists, educational facilities, art sales and initiatives to attract thematic tourism. The island's new identity, in combination with a series of proposed mechanisms, will provide additional incentives for visitors, with a particular focus on young families.


Attracting a sustainable, thriving population

Horio’s revival plan demonstrates the tangible steps Deloitte is taking toward supporting sustainable growth. Along with its parallel transformation into an eco-island and a remote work hotspot, Halki will begin to attract artists, art workers, digital nomads, and tourists.

The Mayor of Halki, Angelos Fragakis, commented that, “We are very pleased for both the social and economic impact on the inhabitants of our island and on the environment. This innovative project will not only benefit Halki’s population but will also attract new residents, [the island] will be revived and become a model not only for Greece but for Europe”.

Transforming the identity of Halki through Horio’s rejuvenation sets the scene for another epic chapter of the island’s history. And by restoring a permanent population in this forgotten medieval town, a thriving future beckons.

“Our proposed transformation of the village into an art ecosystem model, which will serve as a source of inspiration and creativity to artists, as well as a place of interest for visitors is expected to increase the island’s revenue. Creating an estimated 250 additional jobs, doubling the permanent population and increasing the temporary one. Additionally, we estimate that these changes will secure at least 6.5 million Euro worth of infrastructure on the island.”

Nikos Christodoulou

Partner, Deloitte Greece Consulting Team

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