Tourism Development Minister Aris Spiliotopoulos announced Greece would lead the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Committee for Sustainable Development of Tourism for the next four years on the occasion of World Environment Day (June 5). This decision was taken by the committee’s nine member-states within the framework of the UNWTO three-day conference held in Athens.
The United Nations World Tourism Organization established the Committee for Sustainable Development of Tourism in 1999 with a four-year term of office. Greece has been a member of the committee since its creation, serving as vice president during the two previous terms.
Topics covered during the conference included climate change and its impact on tourism, the global code of ethics for tourism, quality tourism and the sustainable development of regions of international cultural heritage. Aris Spiliotopoulos stressed the need for “Green tourism, that is tourism development in connection with environmental protection.”
The tourism minister added, “The new development model for tourism is directly linked and dependent on our ability to develop Greek nature, manage natural resources and incorporate tradition and architecture into new forms of tourism.” He added, “These forms of tourism will give us competitive advantages but also comparative economic benefits.”
Aris Spiliotopoulos announced the ministry would launch pilot actions for the development of green tourism within Greek tourist destinations. The tourism minister added, “The Tourism Development Company is already in the process of creating a tourism program that includes the country’s first eco-camping, eco-marinas and innovative activities such as environmental tours, info booths and observatories.”
The tourism minister praised the establishment of an environment ministry because “tourism and the environment go hand in hand.” Mr. Spiliotopoulos underlined the importance of the tourism strategy that is “Directly linked with the protection and development of the environment.” The tourism development minister also announced the tourism development ministry’s cooperation with the Hellenic Hoteliers Federation (POX) regarding the recording of all eco-friendly hotels available in Greece and the establishment of criteria for their certification.