By Nikos Krinis in Berlin
“Greece is really the trend… Greece is experiencing a renaissance”, Thomas Ellerbeck, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the TUI Care Foundation, said on the sidelines of the ITB travel trade exhibition in Berlin.
Ellerbeck on Thursday presented the project “TUI Cares for Crete – Sustainable Food”, a joint project launched by the TUI Care Foundation and Futouris on Crete that links tourism and agriculture.
“When tourists come to Greece this year they should expect authentic experiences as the country has so many options to offer its customers, its guests… Greece is about coasts, the weather, the history, the culture, the national cultural heritage and the islands”, Ellerbeck told the Greek Travel Pages (GTP), adding that the project on Crete will work only if it receives the support of the locals.
The project sees the TUI Care Foundation networking 47 wine producers, two vineyards, 25 olive-growers and one olive mill with the local tourism sector and thus contributing to developing the Greek island into a showpiece for sustainable food on holiday.
“I think this project will be a win-win for both us and and the locals… and be something very interesting to see, how agriculture and tourism, which are both very important for Greece, will come together”, Ellerbeck told GTP.
In the long term, the project is expected to bring an improvement in regional food quality and quantity in holiday hotels, reduce the negative environmental impacts of agriculture and strengthen the local economy.
“With so many islands and coasts, I think sustainable tourism is very important… This is the way TUI develops destinations. We want to be partners with the destinations and we intend to stay with the destinations for a long period and do what it takes in both the difficult times and the good times.”
Through its projects, the TUI Care Foundation aims to demonstrate that tourism can be a reliable partner for the development of countries. “It is not only an economic factor, but can also make a contribution to sustainable social development”, Ellerbeck underlined while presenting the project.
‘We can take sustainability to the next level’
On his part, TUI Group’s regional director for the East Mediterranean, Michael Mavropoulos, said that TUI is very proud for its long standing relationship with Greece, a country it supports for many years.
“It is great that we are putting together this formal framework and we can take sustainability to the next level”, he said during the presentation of the project “TUI Cares for Crete – Sustainable Food”.
Mavropoulos said that the project on Crete is coming at a time when Greek tourism is booming and development comes in a sustainable form.
“We will definitely do our best to take this project off the ground and continue to create authentic experiences for our guests”, he said.
Following its launch in 2016, the first 30 projects of the TUI Care Foundation were selected in 25 countries, which are being financially supported this year.
According to TUI, in total, more than four million euros are being made available to promote sustainable tourism worldwide.