Accessible tourism destinations, faith and hiking tourism are some of the projects which got the green light by the committee overseeing the allocation of EU funds from the Operational Program for Competitiveness, Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
Participating on the committee, Secretary General for Tourism Policy and Development George Tziallas presented the progress made thus far on a 5-million-euro initiative, aimed at making a number of Greek beaches wheelchair friendly with the installation of removable boardwalks or ramps stretching out over the water.
Other projects receiving funding include a 3-million-euro pilot program for the development of religious tourism as well as a 6-million-euro project which aims to tap into hiking and trekking tourism across Greece through the mapping out and establishment of hiking routes.
Hiking tourism has entered the ministry’s agenda as of late with initiatives by the Halkidiki Tourism Organization as well as by Andros, Amorgos, Epirus and the Peloponnese. In this direction, hikers’ associations met in the village of Vytina last month for the 1st Greek Trails Conference, where they exchanged know-how, ideas and best practices with their European counterparts during the parallel 3rd European Leading Quality Trails meeting.
According to the tourism ministry, the aim of the aforementioned projects is to expand the tourism season through the availability of alternative options, as well as ensure the even distribution of travelers to lesser-known destinations in Greece, boosting at the same time local economies and creating employment opportunities.
Other tourism-related projects in the pipeline with the financial aid of the EU’s Interreg V program for 2014-2020 include a star-gazing program and the development of Greece’s geoparks.