Achieving sustainability in tourism is one of the most important aims of Greece’s government, Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis said on Friday during the opening ceremony of the Philoxenia – Hotelia duo exhibition at the Thessaloniki International Exhibition Center.
“If we want to have tourists and a higher value-added tourism product while preserving our natural and cultural heritage, now is the time to take action. For the Greek government and the tourism ministry, turning our economy towards a more sustainable model of growth is non-negotiable,” the minister said.
During his speech, the minister underlined that the optimum use of natural resources, preserving natural heritage and biodiversity, preserving cultural heritage and traditions and promoting quality tourism infrastructure with a low environmental footprint are high on the Greek government’s agenda.
“Our planning includes the promotion of thematic tourism products; ensuring quality tourism infrastructure with a low environmental footprint; and promoting alternative forms of tourism,” Minister Theoharis said, underlining that the specific sectors have significant prospects and can make a decisive contribution to the future of the Greek tourism product and thus to the national economy.
“Τhe rise of responsible citizens, consumers and travelers worldwide is a fact and a challenge and opportunity for all of us. Already, 70 percent of tourists say they want environmentally friendly accommodations that will make use of renewable energy sources, with green credentials,” he added.
Moreover, the minister underlined the need for Greece to focus more on alternative tourism forms, such as diving, congress and health, as well as city breaks.
He also noted that the ministry’s 10-year tourism plan, which is set to be launched in 2020, focuses on sustainable development for the benefit of entrepreneurs, employees, citizens and tourists.
Greece’s annual international tourism exhibition Philoxenia is being held once again with the Hotelia international hotel equipment expo. The Philoxenia-Hotelia duo, organized by TIF-Helexpo, aims to present the country’s leading tourist destinations, new technologies as well as tourism-related products and services. The exhibitions will run until November 10.